Voting Ends for 2nd Referendum on Osaka Metropolis Plan

Politics

Osaka, Nov. 1 (Jiji Press)--Voting ended for a closely watched referendum on Sunday in which citizens of Osaka were asked to approve or disapprove the so-called Osaka metropolis plan, after a similar administrative reorganization project for the major western Japan city was voted down by residents about five and a half years ago.

Polling stations were closed at 8 p.m. (11 a.m. GMT), with vote-counting starting immediately. The result, seen becoming available late Sunday night, will be legally binding. As of the day, the number of eligible voters, or residents of the Osaka Prefecture capital aged 18 or over who have Japanese citizenship, totaled some 2,205,700.

According to the Osaka municipal election board, 418,925 people, or about 19 pct of the total eligible voters, cast their ballots under an early voting system. The number of early voters outpaced 359,203 in the first referendum on the metropolis plan in 2015 and was the largest ever among all early voting opportunities in the city, including for mayoral elections.

Voter turnout as of 7 p.m. stood at 40.34 pct in Sunday's referendum, lower than 45.41 pct in the 2015 referendum.

The Osaka metropolis initiative, supported mainly by Osaka Ishin no Kai, a regional political party, calls for abolishing the current Osaka, a central government ordinance-designated major city with a population of about 2.7 million, and reorganizing the city, which currently has 24 administrative wards, into four special wards that are similar to the 23 special wards in Tokyo, Japan's capital.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press