The people of Osaka have voted down plans to abolish the city government and convert Osaka into five special administrative wards in a local referendum held Sunday.
The outcome brought to an end debate over the proposed reforms, which were championed by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto for more than five years. Hashimoto is also the leader of the Osaka Ishin no Kai, a local political party that promoted the plan.
Hashimoto told reporters late Sunday night in Osaka of his intention to retire from politics. He said he had no plans to run in the next Osaka mayoral election, scheduled to be held by the end of this year.
I – Word Understanding
referendum – a public vote on a particular issue
championed – publicly fought or supported
II – Have Your Say
1. Agree or disagree?
The plan to reorganize Osaka into a metropolitan government similar to Tokyo’s was a way to slash waste, cut out administrative duplication and strengthen the city’s brand at home and abroad, making it more attractive to investors and sports event organisers.
2. With Hashimoto retiring from politics after his defeat, many say that Prime Minister Abe has lost a powerful ally.
3. What makes a good political leader? What kind of politician is good for Japan?