Voters go to the polls Nov. 27 to elect a mayor for the city of Osaka and the prefectural governor. But it’s the former that is drawing the most attention, due to the candidacy of ex-Gov. Toru Hashimoto and his plan to abolish the city of Osaka and merge it with prefecture.

The plan has been pushed by Hashimoto and his supporters for nearly two years and is the subject of often heated debate between him and incumbent Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu, who has put forth his own plan for the city that would keep it as a separate entity. The future of Osaka, literally, is at stake in an election that pits Hashimoto against the established political parties.

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