Toru Hashimoto, mayor for the city of Osaka, has said that his own local political party might not need to put forth candidates for the next general election. After withdrawing from the fight against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s campaign to restart the nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, Hashimoto has said that his new number one goal is to have the Diet pass a bill that would recognize Osaka as a metropolitan area, as it does with Tokyo. The Osaka Ishin no Kai (Osaka restoration group), headed by Hashimoto, wants Osaka Prefecture and the city of Osaka to be reorganized as a single metropolitan area.
This explanation was given after Hashimoto‘s comments on Friday that his group may not need to get involved in national-level politics. The secretary general for the restoration group, Osaka’s Governor Ichiro Matsui, also stated that it was never the intention of the regional party to make moves into Japan’s national politics.
Regardless of whether the Osaka Ishin no Kai makes moves into national politics or not, it is expected that national-level parties are paying close attention to Hashimoto and his group. Both the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and its opposition, like the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), have hopes of cooperating with Hashimoto to take advantage of his popularity in the next general election.