Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who tendered his resignation to the city assembly Feb. 7, lost his job Feb. 27 after the assembly declined to consent to his resignation. It's another step in a process that is set to culminate in a mayoral election March 23.

Osaka residents may have difficulty understanding why the election is even necessary. That's because Hashimoto's sudden move to step down is nothing more than a political gambit to get support for his pet idea of integrating Osaka Prefecture and the city of Osaka to form a single metropolitan entity called Osaka-to.

He tendered his resignation after a committee formed by the city of Osaka and Osaka Prefecture to work out details of the integration plan opposed his idea of amalgamating four proposals concerning reorganization of the city of Osaka into one proposal.