Candidates seeking Osaka metropolis have slight lead: survey

Osaka Gov Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura who resigned earlier in the month to switch their positions and push their Osaka metropolis plan have a slight lead over their respective rivals one week before voting, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.
In the Osaka mayoral election, Matsui, 55, is leading Akira Yanagimoto, a 45-year-old former Osaka city assembly member supported by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
In the gubernatorial race, Yoshimura, 43, is slightly ahead of Tadakazu Konishi, a 64-year-old former Osaka deputy governor supported by the LDP, the survey showed.
Matsui and Yoshimura are seeking to reorganize Osaka city into a metropolitan government similar to Tokyo's to streamline the prefectural and city administrations.
As for other local elections to be held on April 7, the poll in northern Japan's Hokkaido will be the only one in which candidates backed by the ruling coalition of the LDP and Komeito will face off with multiple opposition-approved candidates.
Naomichi Suzuki backed by the LDP is leading Tomohiro Ishikawa supported by several opposition parties, the survey showed.
Governors in 11 prefectures, mayors in six major cities, and assembly members in 41 prefectures and 17 big cities will be chosen in the first round of unified elections on April 7. Osaka abruptly joined the prefectures holding the gubernatorial races in early March.

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