Osaka to abolish nationality clause

OSAKA — Members of the Liberal Democratic Party sitting on the Osaka municipal assembly decided at a general meeting Mar. 11 to conditionally approve a local government plan to do away with a Japanese nationality requirement for municipal employees.

Osaka Mayor Takabumi Isomura last year proposed that the nationality requirement be abolished but the LDP bloc, the largest in the municipal assembly, objected and municipal authorities were forced to give up the plan. However, as no other party is objecting to the proposal this year, municipal authorities are likely to open recruitment tests to non-Japanese from this summer.

The Osaka government will be the second municipal government to abolish the nationality requirement following the Kawasaki Municipal Government, which did so last year. The Osaka government’s decision to employ non-Japanese is certain to have a major impact on other local governments.

Osaka has some 120,000 foreign residents among its population of 2.6 million.

The LDP assemblymen have agreed to open a limited number of local government posts to foreign candidates as part of its measures to internationalize its operations. The move is also partly because other municipal governments such as Yokohama and Kobe, in addition to the Kanagawa and Osaka prefectural governments, are considering doing away with the requirement.