Sat, Mar 10, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Mayor Chen shares merger experiences with Osaka officials

Staff Writer, with CNA

Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday shared her city’s development experiences following the city’s merger with the former Kaohsiung county while talking with officials from the Japanese city of Osaka.

In a meeting with Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru during a six-day visit to Japan, Chen said finding a balance in development among the different regions in the city was important.

The meeting was under the spotlight because Chen was recently appointed acting chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Hashimoto has proposed a plan to merge the current Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City into Osaka Metropolis, a move that is expected to be completed in 2015.

Chen said that prior to the merger, Greater Kaohsiung’s development centered around its harbor. After the merger, Chen said, Kaohsiung’s administrative territory expanded from 153km2 to 2,946km2, while its population increased from 1.52 million people to 2.77 million.

Since the merger into a special municipality, the city government has been working to eliminate differences between urban and rural areas, and to promote the fair development of each of its districts, Chen added.

The goal of urban planning should be to establish multi-core regions instead of concentrating resources in one single area, Chen said.

Furthermore, she said, the central government has to give local governments a lot of autonomy.

Osaka could face similar issues as it goes through the process of implementing its merger, the Greater Kaohsiung mayor said.

Chen also invited the two Osaka officials to next year’s Asia-Pacific Cities Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Greater Kaohsiung from Sept. 16 through Sept. 20.

Also during her visit to Japan, Chen attended the Foodex Japan food trade show in Tokyo and donated Kaohsiung-grown bananas to an elementary school in Sendai, an area that was hard-hit by the March 11 earthquake that devastated areas of northeastern Japan.

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