Former Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto will step down Wednesday as a policy adviser for the opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai as he seeks to maintain political neutrality, sources said Tuesday.

Hashimoto, who ended his career as a politician in 2015, has been making TV appearances and giving speeches at various events and thinks it is necessary to distance himself from the party he formed, they said.

The lawyer by profession is still in talks with the party on whether to stay on as a legal adviser.

Hashimoto, who became Osaka governor in 2008 and Osaka mayor in 2011, founded in October 2015 a party called Initiatives from Osaka, the predecessor of the Japan Innovation Party, together with Osaka-based lawmakers. The party was renamed in 2016.

In December 2015, Hashimoto left the political arena as his term as Osaka mayor expired. He had promised to do so after his proposal for transforming Osaka Prefecture into a metropolis to promote decentralization of power was rejected in a local referendum.

Hashimoto has since served as a legal and policy adviser for the party, but he has stressed that he works "in a private capacity." He has not made speeches for the party in election campaigns or allowed the party to use his image in its posters.