Mayor Hashimoto Directs Government’s “Honmaya” Water Brand to Cease Production
Yomiuri Shimbun: 橋下市長、大赤字の「ほんまや」生産中止を指示
January 25, 2012
Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto announced today that he had directed the city water department to cease the bottling and selling of city water for public relations purposes. A 500 ml plastic bottle of this “Honmaya” water cost ¥100. The mayor explained, “There’s plenty of mineral water in the world. It’s just not necessary for the city government to put more pressure on private firms and lose money by selling its own water.”
Honmaya water was put on sale to dispel the perception that “Osaka water is gross.” It has been available in city supermarkets since March 2007. In 2010, 510,000 bottles were produced.
Last May, the product received a first plaze prize from the food and beverage evaluation group Monde Selection. In July, former mayor Kunio Hiramatsu brought the product to an international water treatment trade fair in Singapore to show off his city’s water purification prowess. After the Great Tōhoku Earthquake last March, large quantities of the water were sent to the disaster areas as relief supplies.
But one of Honmaya’s biggest problems was that the city didn’t have bottling facilities, so it had to consign that task to private companies, which ran up the costs. The product lost ¥15 million ($170,500) in fiscal 2010.
Mayor Hashimoto told the press that “if we could find an overseas buyer for the purification technology, we could enter a technical cooperation agreement. We don’t have to put this product in plastic bottles.”
Mayor Hashimoto’s ¥5 Million of Campaign Costs Less Than Any Election Winner in 20 Years
Yomiuri Shimbun: 橋下流５００万円選挙、過去２０年で最低
January 25, 2012
Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto’s campaign for last November’s election cost ¥5 million ($65,000), the least of any winning candidate in the last twenty years.
A big reason for his savings was his tag team campaign with Mr. Ichirō Matsui, the victorious candidate for the governor’s office, which allowed the two to share campaign headquarters. His “bargain-basement campaign” cost less than a third of that of his rival, then-mayor Kunio Hiramatsu. Election experts were shocked by the figures and said “only someone as famous as Mr. Hashimoto could do something like that.”
According to the income and expenditure report the campaign sent to the city election office, the Hashimoto campaign spent ¥5,007,996, far below the previous modern record held by the 1999 Takafumi Isomura campaign. The figure is even more conspicuous considering that some candidates for the city legislature from single-member districts spent close to ¥6 million on their own campaigns last April.
The biggest difference between Hashimoto’s campaign and those of his predecessors was the amount of spending on campaign headquarters. This was also the big difference between Hashimoto’s campaign and the ¥15,575,470 Kunio Hiramatsu campaign: Hiramatsu spent ¥5.72 million on headquarters while Hashimoto spent just ¥750,000. The mayor’s philosophy was that “laying out money for opulent headquarters that the voters never even see is useless.” Instead, he and Mr. Matsui shared buildings that the Osaka Restoration Association, the political party they represent, was already renting, so this third party also shouldered many typical campaign costs.
Spending by Mayor Hashimoto’s campaign compared to winning campaigns of elections past. Figures are in the tens of thousands of yen.
Mayor Hashimoto Cuts Own Retirement Bonus by 84% to Match Governor’s Cut
Yomiuri Shimbun: 橋下市長、退職金８４％カット…知事と同額に
February 1, 2012
Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto announced today that he would increase the size of his retirement bonus cut from 50% to 84% in order to match Osaka Governor Ichirō Matsui, who just announced a large retirement bonus cut of his own. Each will now receive a bonus of just ¥6.29 million ($78,625) upon leaving office.
The mayor said at a press conference that “the governor represents everyone in the prefecture, so it would be unacceptable for a mayor to make more than him.” He will bring the measure to the floor of the city legislature in February.
Last December, Mayor Hashimoto proposed a measure that would cut his retirement bonus from ¥39.53 million ($494,125) to ¥19.76 million. It passed. Now he wants to cut this bonus even more and also cut his monthly salary of ¥1.42 million ($17,750) by 30%.
Governor Matsui, based on the recommendation of the prefecture’s special deliberative council on employment compensation, plans to propose an amendment this month to cut his retirement bonus by 85%. If it passes, the Governor of Osaka will receive the lowest retirement bonus (¥6.29 million) of any governor in the country.
Mayor Hashimoto to Cut Own Salary Further: “Making More Than the Governor Would be Unacceptable”
Yomiuri Shimbun: 橋下市長「知事より上あり得ぬ」と自ら給与カット
February 28, 2012
Yesterday, Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto announced that he was considering bringing a measure before the city legislature today that would cut his ¥1.42 million ($17,750) monthly salary by 42%, to ¥820,000 ($10,250).
He had already passed a measure to cut that salary 30%, to ¥990,000, but he would need to deepen the cut to bring his compensation below that of Governor Ichirō Matsui’s. He will also expand the cut to his retirement bonus, that is the bonus he would receive for leaving office after serving four years as mayor, from 50% to 81%, dropping this compensation from ¥39.53 million ($494,125) to ¥7.51 million ($93,875).
Governor Matsui just presented his compensation reduction bill to the prefectural legislature. If it passes, his monthly salary will be ¥910,000 ($11,375) and his retirement bonus ¥7.8 million ($97,500). Mr. Hashimoto plans to bring his compensation below Matsui’s, saying “the governor represents everyone in the prefecture, so it would be unacceptable for a mayor to make more than him.”