OSAKA -- Political party Komeito's Osaka headquarters decided Dec. 21 that it would back the direction of a proposal for the city of Osaka to be restructured into a metropolis of special wards like Tokyo, for which a vote will be taken Dec. 26 at a legal council meeting.
With the combined support of Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka Restoration Association) and Komeito, the proposal is certain to pass. The process will then go on to the agreement-drafting phase.
Osaka Municipal Assembly member and secretary-general of Komeito's Osaka headquarters, Yasuo Toki, said, "We're also pushing toward voting in favor of the metropolis plan in the referendum set to take place next fall."
Komeito laid down the following as conditions for their agreement: keeping the cost of creating special wards down, maintaining existing services for residents, establishing child consultation centers in four special wards, and maintaining public service counters. Komeito determined through meetings of the legal council that all four criteria had been met.
On the night of Dec. 20, Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui along with Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura met with senior officials from Komeito's Osaka branch in the western Japan city. They agreed that they would try to hold the referendum on the Osaka metropolis plan around Nov. 1 or Nov. 8 of next year, but did not set a specific date.
Senior officials from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s Osaka Prefectural Chapter met on Dec. 21, and officially decided they would oppose the direction of the metropolis proposal.
On the national political stage, Komeito is the junior coalition partner in the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leader of the LDP.
(Japanese original by Kensuke Yaoi and Hiroko Michishita, Osaka City News Department)