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OSAKA — Osaka will try to assist the homeless and small and medium-size enterprises while continuing to attract the 2008 Olympics, Mayor Takafumi Isomura said Tuesday in his first address of the year. “The city must consider how to provide a safety net to help smaller businesses, and to ensure that the social welfare needs of those without a residence are met,” the mayor said. The exact number of homeless people in Osaka is unknown, but city officials estimate more than 10,000 people may be living on the streets. In addition, Osaka’s unemployment rate is over 5 percent, well above the national average of 4.6 percent. The mayor, elected to a second term in December, has vowed to revive the economy through the construction of sports facilities and the pursuit of the 2008 Games. But a decision by the International Olympic Committee banning international publicity until after the Sydney Olympics this fall has many in Osaka worried about how best to compete. “The IOC will begin the selection process for 2008 Olympic bid cities this year. Osaka must think carefully about how to promote itself abroad,” the mayor said.

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