Osaka’s mayoral campaign entered its final week Monday. The Nov 27 election campaign has seen all but two candidates drop out, pitting former Osaka Gov Toru Hashimoto, 42, against incumbent Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu, 63.
The two strongly differ on platform issues, with Hiramatsu strongly opposed to Hashimoto's vision to make Osaka a global economic contender.
Hashimoto resigned as governor on Oct 31, three months before his term expires, to run for mayor. He said he made the decision because he was unable to achieve administrative reform due to continuing opposition from Hiramatsu. Hashimoto said there is too much inefficiency and overlap in the administrative functions of the prefecture and the city.
Hiramatsu is advocating grassroots politics, from the bottom up. He said that policies need to reflect the voices of local communities and said that Hashimoto is advocating one-man rule.
Hashimoto said that he would consolidate the administrative frameworks of the city and the prefecture to create a new Osaka to compete with Tokyo and other major cities around the world. He said that changing Osaka is the first step toward changing Japan.
Hiramatsu has the support of city assembly members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and Liberal Democratic Party, as well as the Japan Communist Party. Hashimoto is backed by his regional Osaka Ishin No Kai (Restoration Group), which has a majority in the Osaka prefectural assembly and Osaka municipal assembly.© Japan Today