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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 April 15 - 21  > Progressive forum says ‘No!’ to dividing up of Osaka City
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2015 April 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

Progressive forum says ‘No!’ to dividing up of Osaka City

April 16, 2015
The National Association for a Peaceful, Democratic, and Progressive Japan (Kakushinkon) is calling on its members across the country to support Osakans’ struggle to pass a “No” verdict on whether to divide up Osaka City in a referendum slated for May 17.

Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto Toru said he will treat the referendum as a dry run before a national referendum on constitutional revision. The Kakushinkon focuses on the struggle to vote against the dissolution of Osaka City in the local referendum along with the struggle to defend the Constitution.

Mayor Hashimoto and his party, Osaka Ishin no Kai, envisage an “Osaka metropolis” by dividing the 126-year-old city into five special zones.

Their aim is to inject a vast amount of tax revenues into large public works projects by siphoning financial resources from the city to the Osaka prefectural government, the Kakushinkon pointed out.

In fact, the Osaka Ishin no Kai election manifesto says that a transfer of the city authority and funds to the prefecture will allow the aggressive promotion of urban development projects costing about 1.5 trillion yen.

Under the Osaka metropolis plan, the amount of tax revenue the five special zones receive will be only one fourth of what the city collects at present and they will have to depend heavily on prefectural funds.

The number of assemblypersons in each special zone will be less than half the assembly of a Tokyo ward with a population about the same as a new zone in Osaka. Mayor Hashimoto goes even further and claims that the number of assemblypersons should be cut by two thirds from the current total.

The intent of Hashimoto and the Ishin no Kai shows their inclination to downplay parliamentary democracy and their authoritarianism rather than to make efforts to adequately reflect diverse public opinion.

The Japanese Communist Party Osaka Prefectural Committee on April 15 held a meeting and reaffirmed its commitment to work hard to achieve a majority “No” vote in the Osaka referendum.

Osaka JCP Chair Yamaguchi Katsutoshi in the meeting pointed out that the Ishin no Kai fell short of obtaining the majority of seats in both the Osaka prefectural assembly (Ishin occupies 42 of 88 seats) and the city assembly (36 of 86 seats) as a result of the first half of the nationwide local elections. Hashimoto’s party alone cannot pass the ordinances necessary for the Osaka metropolis plan, and Osakans’ opinion regarding the Hashimoto plan remains evenly divided in many opinion polls, said Yamaguchi. He is calling for wide cooperation with as many Osakans as possible to oppose this plan.

Despite the presence of the Ishin no Kai in Osaka, the JCP increased its number of seats from eight to nine in the Osaka City Assembly. However, it lost a seat in the Osaka Prefectural Assembly and now holds three seats there.

Past related articles:
> Osaka Mayor Hashimoto busy covering up Osaka ‘metropolis’ plan [March 10, 2015]
> Osaka’s businesspeople unite to scrap Mayor Hashimoto’s ‘metropolitan Osaka’ plan [March 11, 2015]
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