Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Saturday that he will step down and seek a fresh public mandate in a new mayoral election in order to push his goal of creating a new Osaka to compete with Tokyo and other major cities around the world.
Hashimto, 44, made the announcement at a Tokyo convention of his One Osaka Party.
Hashimoto said his plan to consolidate the administrative frameworks of Osaka city and the prefecture has not progressed as fast he wanted due to infighting by four factions within the Osaka city assembly, Fuji TV reported. He said he will step down and call a new election to seek a new mandate for his plan.
He is expected to make a formal announcement on Monday.
Hashimoto's current term is not up until December 2015. He said he would like to hold a referendum on the issue sometime in the fall and then aim for the merger by April 2015.
Hashimoto, who is also co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party along with former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara, was vague on whether he would relinquish that post, only saying that he wanted to devote his energy toward the Osaka metropolitan government project, Fuji reported.
However, Japan Restoration Party Secretary General Yorihisa Matsuno told reporters that the party will do all it can to help Hashimoto win reelection as Osaka mayor.© Japan Today