New Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Announces National Recruitment for Leaders of City 24 Districts, Will Continue Commuting from Toyonaka City
The Top 10 stories in the Yomiuri Shimbun frequently feature articles about Mr. Tōru Hashimoto[*1] , a 42-year old lawyer and father of seven who served as Governor of Osaka Prefecture for the past four years before stepping down to run for Mayor of Osaka City on a platform of integrating the municipal and prefectural governments, which he says have overlapping functions. He soundly defeated the incumbent mayor, who was endorsed by all major political parties[*2] except Hashimoto’s own (which is Osaka-only), even the Communists. Now he’s getting to work again.
Mayor Hashimoto Announces National Recruitment for Osaka’s 24 District Leaders
Yomiuri Shimbun: 大阪市の全２４区長、全国公募へ…橋下氏が方針[*3]
Staff Report December 3, 2011
Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto, who took office November 19, informed municipal headquarters on the 2nd that he plans to recruit leaders for Osaka’s 24 districts from both within the city and without.
Mayor Hashimoto will recruit nationally for people with executive experience and personal ability who would take office next April (the beginning of the new fiscal year). He does not plan to appoint a Vice Mayor. He established the City-Prefecture Unification Committee on November 27 to undertake the consolidation of the two governments’ functions; he is preparing a preliminary budget for the next fiscal year, and in the meantime he is beginning preparations for other projects. But he is also generally continuing former Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu’s major projects, such as the Citizens’ Cooperative.
According to those related to the project, Mr. Hashimoto plans to give the district chiefs higher status than even city hall’s bureau chiefs and cast a wide net for people to fill these roles. District chiefs would have the authority to make their own policy and budgets but would have to keep an eye on their own prospects for election or re-election by their residents. The two Vice Mayors who resigned November 18 will not be replaced, as the mayor prefers that district chiefs be the next most important officials after the mayor himself.
New Osaka Mayor Hashimoto to Continue Commuting to Work from Toyonaka City
Yomiuri Shimbun: 橋下新市長、大阪全体の仕事するからと市外在住[*6]
Staff Report December 2, 2011
Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto, who took office on the 19th, plans to continue commuting to the city for work from his family’s home in Toyonaka[*7] .
Every Mayor of Osaka since 1963 had lived inside the city, and the 18 other mayors of designated cities[*5] all live inside their city’s limits. Mr. Hashimoto, a father of seven, chose not to move because it would cause complications for his children’s education. Some members of city hall are opposed, saying “shouldn’t a mayor have firsthand experience of his citizens’ lifestyles?”
According to the Osaka City government, because there is a strong sense that municipal and prefectural legislators should represent the residents of their districts, elected legislators are required by law to live in their own districts and lose their positions if they move away, but the same restriction does not apply to mayors or governors.
That said, the last six mayors of Osaka have lived inside the city: Kaoru Chūma (1963-’71, Abeno District), Yasushi Ōshima (’71-’87, Tennōji), Masaya Nishio (’87-’95, Higashi-Yodogawa), Takafumi Isomura (1995-2003, Higashi-Sumiyoshi), and Kunio Hiramatsu (’07-’11, Suminoe).
A mayor who lives in the city could respond faster to natural disasters such as earthquakes by assuming control of the disaster response headquarters sooner. Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa walks to work during a monthly “No Car Day” in an appeal to cut CO2 emissions. Sakai Mayor Masao Takeyama walks to work to save money on public transportation.
His Understanding of Citizenship
This April, during a street oratory in advance of elections for the municipal legislature, then-governor Hashimoto said in criticism of the new electoral system for district chiefs that “mayors normally live in their cities. How would it be if a district chief didn’t live in his district?” Before November’s mayoral election, however, when the press corps asked him where he would live if he were mayor, he replied he would continue to “be a citizen of Toyonaka”: “I’m becoming mayor of Osaka to integrate it with the rest of the prefecture, not to simply be its mayor. There’s also the question of where my children would go to school.”