Hashimoto re-elected Osaka mayor; voter turnout 23.59%
Toru Hashimoto was easily re-elected Osaka mayor Sunday. Hashimoto, 44, who resigned last month, garnered 377,472 votes. His nearest challenger, Toshihisa Fujishima, 51, got only 24,004 votes.
Voter turnout was only 23.59%, Japanese media reported Monday.
Two other candidates, former temp worker Shigeo Ninomiya, 37, and businessman Mac Akasaka, 65, both got less than 20,000 votes.
None of the three main political parties—the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the New Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan—fielded any candidates. Hashimoto is backed by the Japan Restoration Party which he co-founded with former Tokyo Gov Shintaro Ishihara.
Hashimoto, whose first term was not scheduled to end until December 2015, stepped down because he said he wants to seek re-election in a bid to prove he has public support for his plans to reform local government. He has long championed a plan to merge the prefectural and municipal governments of Osaka, claiming it would cut out unnecessary layers of bureaucracy.
A panel made up of representatives of the Osaka prefectural government and Osaka municipal government in February rejected plans to speed up the integration, prompting his decision to go over their heads to the electorate.
Japanese media commentators say that Hashimoto’s reelection won’t change anything since the forces opposed to his plan remain in the assembly.