Osaka best backup capital, Ishihara, Hashimoto say

by Takahiro Fukada

Staff Writer

With fears of a major earthquake looming in the capital, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara and Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto agreed Friday in Tokyo that the main western metropolis must be prepared to serve as a backup capital in the event of the Big One.

Hashimoto said the two governors “confirmed a certain common understanding and future directions that we will make Osaka a subcapital.”

“I’ll do anything” to that end, Hashimoto said.

He said he is leaning toward certain ideas, including merging the Osaka Municipal and Prefectural administrations, reckoning this would better position the area as an alternate capital.

The Kansai region’s political and business leaders are trying to persuade Tokyo officials that Osaka, Kyoto or Kobe should be designated the capital where companies, government organs, foreign delegations and even the Imperial family can continue to function in the event of a Kanto disaster.