Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki shakes hands with defeated anti-base relocation candidate Yohei Kishimoto after the Nago mayoral election in Okinawa on Sunday. | KYODO

In Okinawa, Nago mayor defeats anti-U.S. base transfer rival

Naha– Incumbent Taketoyo Toguchi won a 2nd term as Nago mayor in the southern prefecture of Okinawa on Sunday, in a relief for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is pushing for the controversial moving of a U.S. military base to the citys coastal area.Toguchi, 60, backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and its union partner Komeito, beat anti-relocation prospect Yohei Kishimoto in the election, dealing a setback to local efforts to prevent the base construction by the national government.The mayoral race was closely seen as a precursor to a gubernatorial election in the island prefecture later this year, along with an Upper House race that is expected to take location this summertime at the nationwide level.Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki had actually tossed his assistance behind Kishimoto, who was backed by the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party, amongst others. The prefecture is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its reversion to Japan following U.S. occupation.The relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a seaside area in Nago from its present, largely populated area in Ginowan has actually met stiff opposition even as the Japanese federal government has actually already begun land reclamation for the transfer.Toguchi has not clarified his position on whether he supports the relocation however promoted the advantages of financial support extended by the nationwide government on the facility that the strategy goes through. The government froze the aid throughout the time of Toguchis predecessor, who was versus the base relocation.When asked about the base transfer, he stated, “There is nothing we can do other than to carefully follow advancements in between the main and Okinawa government.”
Sundays mayoral race was the seventh since a 1996 Japan-U.S. arrangement was struck on returning the land occupied by the Futenma base.Following Kishimotos defeat, Okinawa Gov. Tamaki told press reporters that his governments position of opposition to the base transfer “will not budge even by one millimeter.

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Naha– Incumbent Taketoyo Toguchi won a 2nd term as Nago mayor in the southern prefecture of Okinawa on Sunday, in a relief for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is pressing for the controversial moving of a U.S. military base to the citys seaside area.Toguchi, 60, backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito, beat anti-relocation candidate Yohei Kishimoto in the election, dealing an obstacle to regional efforts to thwart the base building and construction by the nationwide government.The mayoral race was carefully viewed as a precursor to a gubernatorial election in the island prefecture later this year, along with an Upper House race that is expected to take place this summer season at the national level.Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki had actually tossed his support behind Kishimoto, who was backed by the major opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party, amongst others. The government froze the help during the time of Toguchis predecessor, who was versus the base relocation.When asked about the base transfer, he said, “There is absolutely nothing we can do other than to carefully follow advancements in between the main and Okinawa government.”
Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki (left) shakes hands with beat anti-base relocation candidate Yohei Kishimoto after the Nago mayoral election in Okinawa on Sunday.|KYODO
Stress in between the nationwide and Okinawa governments stay high as Tamaki rejected in November the Defense Ministrys strategy to make essential changes to the land recovery work following the discovery of weak ground that requires to be reinforced.Nearly 9% of the soil needed for the work had actually been poured into the area at the end of 2021, according to the Defense Ministry. Sundays mayoral race was the seventh considering that a 1996 Japan-U.S. agreement was struck on returning the land inhabited by the Futenma base.Following Kishimotos defeat, Okinawa Gov. Tamaki told press reporters that his federal governments position of opposition to the base transfer “will not budge even by one millimeter.” Voter turnout was at a record low 68.32%, down 8.6 points from the previous election in 2018, according to the local election board.Campaigning for the mayoral race was ruined by rising COVID-19 cases in the prefecture, which has actually been under a quasi-state of emergency.Okinawa is significantly seen as strategically crucial due to its distance to North Korea, whose nuclear and rocket development has kept Japan on alert, and to the Japanese-administered, Chinese-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

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