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Revised law enables gov't to invest in Tokyo, Osaka port operators

A bill to revise the Ports and Harbors Law was passed into law Wednesday to enable the government to invest in the operators of hub container ports in the Tokyo and Osaka areas with the aim of boosting their competitiveness. Having seen large chunks of Japanese cargo to Europe and North America routed via South Korea's Busan Port, which has been wholly backed by the South Korean government, Japanese businesses have been calling on the government to get involved in running ports in the Tokyo and Osaka bay areas.

Osaka mayor rejects criticism over his remark on "mistresses"

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto on Tuesday rejected criticism over his remark a day earlier asking business leaders in the western Japan city to make their mistresses live in condominiums to be built along central Osaka's Midosuji boulevard. Hashimoto, who co-heads the opposition Japan Restoration Party with former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, told reporters the remark was "a play on words and a joke," indicating he would not retract it. The mayor said at Osaka city office that newspapers that reported his comment are "foolish."

Hashimoto to pursue Osaka metropolis plan, referendum

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Monday his reelection on Sunday proved public support for moving ahead with his plan to create an Osaka regional metropolitan government despite a record low voter turnout. Osaka City will map out a blueprint for the administrative reform plan by this summer, as Hashimoto promised during the election campaign, and hold a referendum on the issue, he told a press conference in the city.

Hashimoto admits lack of public confidence in Osaka metropolis plan

Toru Hashimoto on Monday admitted after his re-election as Osaka mayor overnight that his signature policy of overhauling the local administration failed to gain enough support from the voters. "I cannot proudly say I have won public confidence in the Osaka metropolis plan," Hashimoto said at a meeting with senior city officials.

Hashimoto assured of re-election in Osaka mayoral race

Toru Hashimoto was assured of re-election in Sunday's Osaka mayoral election, beating three challengers, according to a Kyodo News projection, with Hashimoto hoping to use the outcome as a momentum for his signature policy of overhauling local administration. His rivals were Mac Akasaka, a 65-year-old businessman and head of a political group, Toshihisa Fujishima, the 51-year-old leader of another political group and Shigeo Ninomiya, a 37-year-old former temporary staff worker.

Voting begins in Osaka mayoral race, Hashimoto aims re-election

Voting began Sunday in an election to choose the next mayor of the western Japan city of Osaka, with Toru Hashimoto seeking re-election to secure a fresh mandate for his signature policy of reforming local administration. Major political parties have shunned being involved in the race, saying they see no need to hold an election in the middle of Hashimoto's four-year term. Given that the incumbent is the most recognizable face among the four candidates, the odds are tipped in favor of him, political watchers say.

Gov't body urged to cancel video tracking of Osaka passersby

The Osaka municipal assembly unanimously adopted on Wednesday an opinion urging a central government body to cancel or revise its plan to test video camera tracking of individual passersby at JR Osaka Station. "Citizens have strong fears about the test that could impede their free movements," the opinion said regarding the plan by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.

Japan's ex-envoy to China Nakae dies at 91

Former Japanese Ambassador to China Yosuke Nakae died of old age Friday morning, his family said. He was 91. Nakae, who joined the Foreign Ministry in 1947, was involved in postwar talks to normalize ties with China as a senior official of the ministry's Asian affairs bureau, the predecessor of the current Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. Japan and China restored diplomatic ties in 1972.

Osaka Mayor Hashimoto finally loses post, paves way for election

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto lost his post Thursday in line with statutory regulations, days after his sudden resignation announcement to pursue a reelection bid to test voter interest in his stalemated signature policy of overhauling local administration. Hashimoto had to wait for Local Autonomy Law provisions to take effect after the municipal assembly voted to disallow his resignation on Feb. 14, following Hashimoto's press conference announcement Feb. 3 that he was quitting in the middle of his term.

Osaka Mayor Hashimoto finally loses post, paves way for election

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto lost his post Thursday in line with statutory regulations, days after his sudden resignation announcement to pursue a reelection bid to test voter interest in his stalemated signature policy of overhauling local administration. Hashimoto had to wait for Local Autonomy Law provisions to take effect after the municipal assembly voted to disallow his resignation on Feb. 14, following Hashimoto's press conference announcement Feb. 3 that he was quitting in the middle of his term.
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