Jiji Press OSAKA (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has said he supports the position of a local LDP chapter against opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai’s so-called Osaka metropolis plan.
Abe made the remark at a meeting of the LDP’s Osaka prefectural chapter in the city of Osaka, apparently aiming to secure local members’ support for him in an LDP leadership election in the autumn.
“The prefectural chapter’s position is the LDP’s position, and the position of me as LDP president,” Abe said.
“I’m always with the Osaka prefectural chapter. Let’s fight through unified local elections [next spring] together and work to develop Osaka,” he stressed.
The Osaka metropolis plan has been pursued by Osaka-based Nippon Ishin no Kai, with which the LDP chapter has a fierce rivalry.
Abe’s remark was apparently designed to appease the prefectural chapter as he has been building friendly relations with Nippon Ishin no Kai in an effort to realize his goal of amending the country’s constitution.
The Osaka metropolis plan calls for reorganizing the prefecture’s governance structure into one like Tokyo’s special ward system. The plan was rejected in a local referendum in 2015, but Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui, who is leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai, and others aim to hold a second vote.
During the local chapter meeting, Abe also said he will work to restore public trust in the government, which is mired in a spate of cronyism and official document scandals now.