Governor, mayor resign to create 'Osaka metropolis'
Japan Today -- Mar 09
The governor and mayor of Osaka tendered their resignations Friday to seek election in each other's current position with the aim of reorganizing the major city into a metropolitan government system similar to Tokyo's.

Gov Ichiro Matsui and Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura, respectively the leader and policy chief of the local political group Osaka Ishin no Kai, are set to leave their posts on March 20 and run in a double election that will coincide with the unified local polls on April 7.

The idea to create the "Osaka metropolis" -- originally a pet project of former Osaka Gov and Mayor Toru Hashimoto -- is aimed at saving taxpayers' money by reducing administrative overlaps between the prefectural and city governments. Voters rejected it by a narrow margin in a city referendum in May 2015.

Matsui and Yoshimura were both elected to their current posts in November 2015 on a platform to resurrect the metropolis plan.

The Osaka Ishin no Kai does not hold a majority in either the Osaka prefectural or the mayoral assembly but seats in both councils will be up for grabs in the elections on April 7.

The regional political group aims for simultaneous victories in the upcoming elections by boosting momentum toward the metropolis initiative and increasing voter turnout.

If the two leaders simply sought re-election in their current positions, they would have to again go to the polls when their original four-year terms expire later this year.

In running for each other's positions, they apparently intend to fend off criticism that their resignations are wasting taxpayers money by ensuring an additional election is not required.

News source: Japan Today
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