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To merge or not to merge? That is the question Osaka hopes to finally answer as the campaign for Osaka governor kicked off Thursday morning.

It’s an election being watched closely not only in Osaka but also in Tokyo by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who have long been on unusually close terms with the top leaders of Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka) but must back Liberal Democratic Party candidates running against them.

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