Diet to review bill for Osaka metropolis
Five parties have formally agreed to submit a bill that would realize Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's initiative to create an Osaka metropolis.
With the agreement, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito, Your Party and the People's New Party will jointly submit the bill to the Diet as early as this week, which would allow local governments to establish special administrative wards similar to Tokyo's 23 wards.
The bill is expected to be enacted during the current Diet session.
"I'm very pleased," Hashimoto told the press Friday at Osaka City Hall. "I'd like to leave the matter to the Diet members until it's completed."
Hashimoto aims to abolish the city of Osaka in April 2015 and instead establish eight to nine special administrative wards.
Currently, the Local Government Law designates only Tokyo's 23 wards as special administrative wards.
If enacted, the bill will allow ordinance-designated cities with populations over 2 million to create special administrative wards. It is possible that a special administrative ward can be created with stronger budgetary authority than a Tokyo ward.
The bill also allows areas comprised of an ordinance-designated city and its neighboring municipalities with a total population over 2 million to create special administrative wards.
At present, three ordinance-designated cities--Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya-- each with a population over 2 million, are eligible for the envisaged legislation. Seven smaller cities are also eligible: Sapporo, Saitama, Chiba, Kawasaki, Kyoto, Sakai and Kobe.
The bill obliges local governments to first hold discussions with the internal affairs and communications minister regarding three matters--distribution of tax revenues, fiscal adjustment and sharing of administrative work--when they draft plans to set up the special administrative wards.
In addition to such discussions, the bill requires local governments to compile a document outlining the names of the special wards, their total area, and the distribution of administrative work.