Views are nearly equally divided among voters in Osaka City over the Osaka metropolis plan, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun opinion poll conducted ahead of the Nov. 1 referendum on the plan.
Conducted from Oct. 23 to 25, the poll shows that 44% of respondents support the metropolis plan while 41% oppose it. Meanwhile, 15% refused to answer the question.
In the previous poll conducted Sept. 4 to 6, supporters had a 14-point lead on opponents, meaning the percentage of people opposing the plan appears to have risen.
The Osaka metropolis plan is a measure to abolish the current framework of the Osaka city government and realign the city into four special administrative wards, each of which will have a population of about 600,000 to 750,000.
If a majority of Osaka City voters support the plan in the referendum, the current administrative framework of Osaka City will be abolished on Jan. 1, 2025.
The previous poll was conducted just after the referendum was decided, with 48% supporting the plan and 34% opposing it.
By the political party that the respondent supports, about 90% of those who support Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) support the metropolis plan.
Among supporters of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, more oppose the plan than support it, with opposition rising from the previous poll.
When respondents were asked whether they are interested in the referendum, 84% said they are highly or relatively interested. A total of 95% said they will definitely or as far as possible cast ballots in the referendum. Both these figures rose from the previous poll.
The poll was conducted through phone calls with Osaka City residents using the random digit dialing method. Among 1,186 people who were residents of the city and eligible to vote, 756 responded for a 64% response rate.