As the city of Osaka prepares for Sunday’s unprecedented referendum on the merger plan being championed by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, most media polls show those opposed to the plan holding anywhere from a slim to a wide lead, though the margin is too close to call.

But with key members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration supporting the merger despite opposition by the Osaka chapter of the Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, Sunday’s vote will impact not only the future of the city, but also relations between the prime minister and the Japan Innovation Party, which Hashimoto helped found and which Abe hopes will support his efforts to revise the Constitution.

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