Omi-Hachiman and Azuchi aiming to merge
On March 26, 2009, Omi-Hachiman’s city council passed a bill to establish the Omi-Hachiman-Azuchi Municipal Merger Deliberation Council (近江八幡市・安土町合併協議会) on April 1 to aim for a municipal merger with neighboring Azuchi town. Azuchi also passed the same bill in their town council on March 25, 2009.
They both aim to merge by March 2010. However, a citizens group in Azuchi gathered 4,000 signatures and submitted a petition to the Azuchi Town Council to require a referendum to be held to vote on the issue. Unfortunately, the bill to hold a referendum was rejected by the town council who took a vote on the issue on April 14, 2009. The town council apparently wants the merger to go through despite the residents’ opposition.
Such a merger was attempted four years ago, but a referendum in Azuchi rejected it. One problem is that Omi-Hachiman is in deep debt and no one really wants to merge with that city. Interesting that neighboring Ryuo town is not even close to merging with Omi-Hachiman even though the town is part of Omi-Hachiman’s area.