Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto was re-elected Sunday in a snap mayoral election that he had maneuvered the city into holding. He had hoped that, through the election, he could strengthen Osaka city residents' support for his plan to integrate Osaka Prefecture with the city of Osaka to form a single metropolitan entity called Osaka-to.

The election results, however, suggest that his efforts fell short and that he will face difficulty gaining further support for his plan even as he tries to increase momentum for it. The results should give him food for thought on how he should conduct politics.

Hashimoto tendered his resignation on Feb. 3 to the city assembly after his integration plan encountered opposition from the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, New Komeito and the Japanese Communist Party in the assembly. He hoped to get a mandate for his plan in a new mayoral election, but his resignation showed he was making light of the assembly. Because the assembly did not accept his resignation, he lost his job Feb. 27, and the snap election was held Sunday.