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Pro-metro Osaka plan candidate narrowly wins Sakai mayoral race

Hideki Nagafuji, center, raises his fist with his supporters in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, on June 9, 2019, after it became certain that he would win the mayoral election. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)

SAKAI, Osaka -- Pro-Osaka metropolis plan candidate Hideki Nagafuji narrowly won a mayoral election in this Osaka Prefecture city on June 9, beating his main rival candidate.

Nagafuji, 42, who ran on the ticket of the local party Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka Restoration Association), defeated Tomoaki Nomura, 45, an independent newcomer who had left the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), by a margin of only some 14,000 votes.

Nagafuji's election success comes after the regional party advocating the metro Osaka plan won the Osaka gubernatorial and mayoral elections in April. However, the narrow margin in the latest poll highlights Sakai residents' wariness of the plan.

Osaka Ishin leader Ichiro Matsui, mayor of the city of Osaka, tweeted on the night of June 9, "I take it seriously that the latest race turned out to be such a close battle."

Under the metropolis plan, the city of Osaka would be split into special wards with publicly elected mayors and assemblies.

(Japanese original by Fusajiro Takada, Osaka Bureau; Yoshitake Matsuura and Yumi Shibamura, Osaka City News Department)

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