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Opponents of Osaka metropolis plan narrowly outnumber supporters ahead of vote: poll

Cars decked out in advertising to raise public awareness of the Nov. 1, 2020 referendum on abolishing the city of Osaka and creating a metropolitan government are seen in front of Osaka City Hall in the city's Kita Ward on the morning of Oct. 12, 2020, the first day of the referendum campaign. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)

OSAKA -- Opponents of a plan to abolish Osaka's city status to turn it into a metropolis with four special wards narrowly outnumbered supporters in a survey conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun and other news organizations between Oct. 23 and 25, ahead of a referendum due to take place on Nov. 1.

    In the telephone survey covering eligible voters in the city of Osaka, the capital of Osaka Prefecture, 43.6% of respondents opposed the plan, while 43.3% supported it. The figures marked a change from a previous poll conducted in early September in which 49.2% of respondents were in favor of the plan and 39.6% were against it.

    The latest results indicate that the rivalry between those for and against the plan remains strong ahead of the Nov. 1 vote on whether to reorganize Osaka as a metropolis with a structure resembling that of Tokyo. The referendum on Nov. 1 will be the second such poll, after locals rejected the plan by a margin of 10,000 votes in 2015.

    In the event that a majority votes in favor of the proposals in the upcoming referendum, the choice becomes legally binding, and on Jan. 1, 2025 four special wards with district elections officers and assemblies would be formed.

    The Mainichi Shimbun conducted the latest survey together with Kyodo News, the Sankei Shimbun Co., Mainichi Broadcasting System Inc. and Kansai Television Co. Data was shared between the companies, which analyzed the results to publish their own articles.

    The survey adopted a random digit dialing method to contact people through randomly generated numbers. Among 1,446 contacted households with eligible voters, responses were obtained from 1,043 people.

    (Japanese original by Toru Tsukui, Osaka City News Department)

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