Osaka Metropolis plan
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The Ōsaka Metropolis plan (大阪都構想 Ōsaka-to kōsō ) is a plan to transform Osaka Prefecture from a fu, an urban prefecture, into a to, a metropolitan prefecture in which Osaka city, Sakai city, and possibly other surrounding cities of Osaka are dissolved and – similarly to Tokyo city's wards within Tokyo – subdivided into special wards that have a status as municipalities but leave some municipal tasks and revenues to the prefectural administration.
The plan is a main goal of the Osaka Restoration Association (Ōsaka ishin no kai, lit. "Osaka renewal assembly"), a political party led by former Osaka governor and current Osaka city mayor Tōru Hashimoto. The party currently includes the governor of Osaka, the mayor of Osaka city, a majority in the Osaka Prefectural Assembly and a plurality of seats in the assemblies of Osaka city and Sakai city.
Under the ORA's plan, the 24 wards of Osaka, seven wards of Sakai, and nine other municipalities in Osaka Prefecture would be reorganized into twenty special wards, each having municipal status similar to the special wards of Tokyo. As is the case in Tokyo, the prefectural government would be responsible for collecting fixed asset taxes and regional corporate taxes within this area, and would provide water, fire protection, public transit and other services through a unified administration for all 20 wards, while resident services and other administrative tasks would be handled by the wards themselves.
In July 2012, seven established parties in the national Diet (DPJ, LDP, Kōmeitō, PNP, LF, Minna no Tō, Kizuna) and the Kaikaku Mushozoku no Kai House of Representatives parliamentary group jointly submitted a bill that would create the legal framework to allow Ōsaka and Sakai cities to be split into special wards; the name change of Ōsaka prefecture from Ōsaka-fu to Ōsaka-to is not included reserving the to designation for the prefecture of Tokyo. The law would also allow other major cities and their surrounding municipalities to reorganize as special wards and transfer municipal tasks to the prefectural government. Condition for application is an agglomeration population of 2 million and the agreement of all participating municipalities (by assembly vote and referendum) and the prefecture involved. Namely this would give the cities of Sapporo, Saitama, Chiba, Yokohama and Kawasaki, Nagoya, Kyōto and Kōbe the option to dissolve and transform Hokkaidō, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyōto or Hyōgo into "Metropolises" like Tokyo. The bill was passed by the Diet in August 2012.
- Yahoo News: News on the Osaka Metropolis plan (Japanese)
- Ōsaka Ishin no Kai: Policies, About the Osaka Metropolis plan (Japanese)
- Ōsaka shisei chōsakai ("Osaka Institute for Municipal Research"): Osaka Metropolis Plan Q&A (Japanese)
- Daily Yomiuri Online, Mar. 3, 2012: Revitalizing Japan – Creative use of land / Revive a 'great Osaka' that can compete with Tokyo