Powerful Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said it's go time and that his Osaka Ishin no Kai party will field candidates all across the country in the next Lower House election.
“The next (general election) is the last chance to change Japan,” Hashimoto said in a lecture in the city he represents on June 28. “If there are voices calling for Osaka’s action to spread across Japan, Ishin will respond firmly to those calls.”
Hashimoto, 43, also said that his party will oppose legislation pushed by the government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to double the consumption tax rate by 2015, and that Osaka Ishin no Kai will call for localizing sales taxes. The next general election must be held by September 2013, but a snap election could be called earlier.
“We will not just (work) in Osaka, but change the shape of Japan,” he said. “If we receive a lot of support, we will certainly usher in a new direction for Japan.”
Hashimoto has built upon voter discontent by promising change with a vow of unifying city and prefecture governments while eliminating duplication and cracking down on wasteful government spending.
The Osaka mayor criticized the Noda government's push for the consumption tax hike, although the Democratic Party of Japan made no mention of a tax increase in its manifesto when it swept to power in 2009.
“Japan’s old politics has to be swept away," Hashimoto said, "and new politics has to be built.”
He put forward his idea of making the consumption tax a local tax and abolishing tax allocations to local governments.
“Osaka Ishin no Kai will make (the idea) the biggest issue (in the next Lower House election) to seek public support,” Hashimoto said.
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