KANSAI Close-up

New Osaka mayor eyes full information disclosure

Osaka Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu (photo), speaking as a mayor-elect on Dec. 10 at a regular meeting of the Kansai Press Club, expressed his resolve to seek full disclosure of information for the sake of citizens. 'Disclosure is meaningless unless it reaches citizens,' Hiramatsu said. Voicing his determination to govern the city based on the perspectives and perceptions of citizens, the new mayor unveiled a plan to create an information disclosure unit headed by a top city official.
Hiramatsu was stationed in New York in the mid-1990s as a Mainichi Broadcasting System correspondent. During that time he personally experienced municipal autonomy in which citizens' voices sought through 'initiatives'(referendums) are directly reflected in city administration. 'I am a layman, but I think it is okay. I hope to manage the municipal administration with the perception of a citizen,' he said. The planned information disclosure unit, to be headed by a bureau director-level official, will absorb the existing Office of City Public Information & Press Relations, he added.
As to the posts of vice mayors, he said he hopes to keep the two incumbents and he would ask them to stay on even if they submitted their resignations. He said he will name a third vice mayor next spring and that he hopes to increase opportunities for direct dialogues with citizens, with himself and senior city officials going into town. (Tawara)