Osaka, Dec. 24 (Jiji Press)–Ichiro Matsui, governor of Osaka Prefecture, and Hirofumi Yoshimura, mayor of the city of Osaka, the capital of the western Japan prefecture, mentioned on Monday the possibility of moving up the next Osaka gubernatorial and mayoral elections to coincide with a series of local polls next April.
The move is apparently intended to realize the local leaders’ plan to reorganize the administration of Osaka. “We’ll make an appropriate decision at an appropriate time,” Matsui told reporters in the city of Osaka on Monday.
The project calls for abolishing the current prefectural capital for reorganization into four special wards.
Osaka Ishin no Kai, a regional political party led by Matsui, is aiming to hold a referendum asking local people whether to support the reorganization plan.
With such a referendum requiring approval from the Osaka prefectural and municipal assemblies, Osaka Ishin is seeking cooperation from the Komeito party because the regional party is the biggest force in both assemblies but lacks a majority on its own.
Matsui said that the Osaka Ishin side held talks with senior Komeito officials on Friday about the timing of a possible referendum. But the Komeito side sounded negative about Osaka Ishin’s idea of holding the referendum simultaneously with next summer’s election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, the country’s parliament, according to the governor.
Matsui added that moving up the gubernatorial and mayoral elections to hold them on the same date as that for the Osaka prefectural and municipal assembly elections set for April 2019 as part of the series of nationwide local polls would be an option, claiming that the move will not require massive spending.
Echoing the governor’s stance, Yoshimura said, “We’ll do everything we can.”
There is a view that such simultaneous elections would help expand voter support for Osaka Ishin.
The current terms of office for Matsui and Yoshimura are set to end on Nov. 26, 2019, and Dec. 18 the same year, respectively.