The race for mayor of Osaka has officially begun with the candidates Akira Yanagimoto (45), former councilman and candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party and supported by the Komeito Party, and Ichiro Matsui (55), Osaka Ishin Representative and former Osaka Governor, announced on Sunday.
The primary point of contention in this election, to be held on 7 April, is the continuation of Ishin’s Osaka Metropolis Plan, which seeks to politically reorganize Osaka city into a special ward to unify the governance of the city with the prefecture. The opponents of Ishin have rallied around opposition to the Osaka Metropolis Plan and attention is focused on how voters will rate the different opinions and attitudes of the different parties.
Both parties are in favor of an IR, but Yanagimoto has adopted a policy of avoiding any concrete promises during this election in consideration of the communist party, who opposes an IR. In particular, the LDP has stated it is in no rush to open an Osaka IR before 2025.
On the other hand, Matsui will be actively pushing the success of the 2025 World Expo, which he has been actively involved in. A pillar of his policy is the growth of the bay area, including Yumeshima as the location for both the Expo and an Osaka IR. Matsui has expressed a desire to have an IR open for business in 2024.
He emphasized, “We want to build a city that can compete not just with Tokyo, but also Shanghai and Singapore.”
While the baseball icon who shares his name announced his retirement last week, this Ichiro still hasn’t lost his motivation to be active on the main stage.