Osaka municipal subway system goes private with launch of Osaka Metro


Osaka’s municipal subway system was privatized Sunday with the launch of Osaka Metro Co., marking the first privatization of a public subway in Japan.

Hideaki Kawai, 63, a former executive of electronics giant Panasonic Corp., will be the first president of the company, which is taking control of subway operations from the Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau.

At Umeda Station on the Midosuji Line, a monument bearing Osaka Metro’s logo was unveiled in the morning.

Former Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto worked on the privatization project but was unable to get it done during his tenure.

His successor, Hirofumi Yoshimura, completed the project after winning the Osaka Municipal Assembly’s approval following his proposal that all shares in the new company be owned by the Osaka Municipal Government.