Osaka mayor quits post to consolidate support for ‘metropolis’ plan

OSAKA, Feb. 3 (PNA/Xinhua) — Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, also co-leader of the opposition Japan Restoration Party, announced Monday afternoon that he will run in a snap election for mayor soon after resigning from his post to gain further public support for his “Osaka Metropolis Plan” that would merge the prefectural and municipal governments.

He made the official statement in a press conference held at a public hall in central Osaka City, saying that he would resign to consolidate support from residents for his political vision of creating an “Osaka Metropolitan Government” in an election which under law must be held within 50 days from the day after the municipal election administration committee officially confirms the mayor’s intention.

During the meeting, he revealed that his idea to create the metropolis area based on only a single draft plan, rather than the multiple (four) ideas initially discussed, was rejected last month in a joint council that consists of representative members from both the municipal and prefectural assemblies.

Hashimoto stated his desire to formulate a new, improved and more appealing draft and release it by the summer.

“In the end, my new metropolis plan will only need to be approved by a local referendum and nothing more,” Hashimoto said.

According to local media, the expected mayoral election is likely to be scheduled in the middle of March due to political and local budgetary circumstances, but no other major candidates to compete in the race have emerged so far. (PNA/Xinhua)