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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 14 - 20  > Scholars express concern over Osaka split-up scheme
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2020 October 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

Scholars express concern over Osaka split-up scheme

October 13 & 14, 2020
Many scholars, irrespective of their academic position or expertise, have expressed skeptical views on an Osaka City referendum (announced on Oct.12 and slated for Nov.1) on an "Osaka metropolitan" scheme which splits up Osaka City and reorganizes it into four special wards.

In agreement with Fujii Satoshi, Kyoto University professor, and Mori Hiroyuki, Ritsumeikan University professor, both opponents of the "Osaka metropolis", 130 scholars have voiced their opinions critical of the scheme as of October 10.

According to the Osaka split-up vision, tax revenues of four special wards will be cut to one-third of what Osaka City currently collects, but as much as 130 billion yen will be necessary for the establishment of the four wards within the next 15 years. Therefore, it will be inevitable to scale down public services. In fact, a simulated financial model of the four new wards trims the budgets just for public swimming pools and sports centers by 1.7 billion yen.

Tsuruta Hiromi, Kansai University professor emeritus of public finance, pointed out that most of the financial resources of Osaka City will be siphoned off to a metropolitan government (currently the prefectural government), and criticized the metropolis plan for bringing about cutbacks in public services and creating confusion among Osaka residents.

Kitayama Toshiya, Kansei Gakuin University public administration professor, said that the reason for the abolition of Osaka City has been explained as a need for the dissolution of the dual administrative overlap between the city and the prefecture, and added, "However, reducing overlapping administration to such an extreme will likely cause a noticeable decrease in Osaka's capability to respond to public emergencies."

Kameoka Teruko, instructor in public health at Osaka College of Social Health and Welfare, underscored the need to put priority on the protection of residents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and not on the Osaka metropolis plan.

Osaka City Mayor Matsui Ichiro (Osaka Ishin-no-Kai Party) and Osaka Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi (also Osaka Ishin-no-Kai Party) have been explaining that their vision of "growth" in Osaka will increase tax revenues and thus improve the quality of public services. However, their "growth strategy" means large development projects in the Osaka Bay area and on the artificial Maishima island, specifically for the Osaka World Expo in 2025 and a casino-centric integrated resort (IR).

A local public poll released on October 12 shows that at present 42.3% of Osaka City residents are in opposition to the scheme while 45.4% are in support.

Past related articles:
> Candidates supported by citizens and JCP lose in Osaka double elections [April 8, 2019]
> Double elections for governor and mayor will take place in Osaka [March 9, 2019]

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