Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has proposed merging his municipal government with the neighboring city of Sakai and the Osaka prefecture, or state-level, government. The plan was not likely to be completed during Hashimoto's original term, which runs through March 2015, so he said he would step down and run again in a special election he intends as a referendum on the plan, Kyodo News reported.
At a news conference Saturday, Hashimoto, a member of the opposition Nippon Ishin party, said he was willing to "expend political energy" to advance the consolidation plan.
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