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In a highly unusual, controversial and politically risky move with local and national implications, Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura resigned their posts in protest Friday, in order to run for each other’s positions in snap elections next month.

Frustrated with what they say are continued moves by Komeito to block their efforts to merge the city of Osaka’s 24 wards, both leaders resigned in the hope of gaining popular support for their proposal in next month’s polls.

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