Osaka Metropolis Plan Rejected Again in Blow to Ishin

Politics

Osaka, Nov. 1 (Jiji Press)--Residents turned down the so-called Osaka metropolis plan again in a closely watched second referendum Sunday on the sweeping administrative reorganization project for the major western Japan city.

The Osaka Prefecture capital, a central government ordinance-designated major city, will remain intact, with its current administrative structure to be maintained. The result of the referendum is certain to deal a blow to Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) and affiliated Osaka Ishin no Kai, a regional political party, which have pushed the administrative revamping.

In the referendum, the number of votes cast against the Osaka metropolis plan came to 692,996 against 675,829 votes in favor of the initiative. The referendum was held based on the law that sets procedures for setting up special wards in major cities, and the outcome is legally binding.

"We will sincerely accept the will of citizens," Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, also head of Nippon Ishin and Osaka Ishin, told a press conference. "I have to take responsibility as a politician," he added, expressing his intention to retire from politics when his current term as Osaka mayor ends in April 2023.

The metropolis plan called for scrapping the current city of Osaka, which has a population of about 2.7 million and comprises 24 administrative wards, and reorganizing it into four new special wards that are similar to the 23 special wards in Tokyo.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press