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Osaka Gov. Toru Hashimoto’s popularity has earned his prefecture a donation of ¥100 million from a woman in her 80s, an official said Friday.

Hashimoto has often grabbed attention for making blunt remarks critical of public school teachers and the education ministry as well as for his efforts to reduce Osaka’s debts. Before the lawyer became governor, his legal advice was sought after by TV shows.

The mystery woman called the prefectural regional welfare division on the morning of March 17 to say she was Hashimoto’s fan and wanted to donate money for him to use for welfare, division official Ayumi Hinaga said.

The woman visited a prefectural building with her daughter and son-in-law before lunch that day carrying a backpack filled with ¥100 million, the official said. Hashimoto, who took office in January last year, met the family for lunch and took a photo with them.

“I heard (Osaka Prefecture) is in financial trouble,” Hinaga quoted the woman as saying.

“We appreciate her and her family very much for visiting and donating to us,” Hinaga quoted Hashimoto as saying Friday.

Osaka Prefecture has been calling on the public to donate money for various operations, including decorating ginkgo trees on Midosuji street in Osaka and improving education for children. From last May to March it collected ¥114 million in donations for welfare-related operations this year, she said.

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