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Okinawa City mayoral election draws near

Okinawa City, the second largest city in Okinawa Prefecture and the location of the U.S. Kadena Air Base, will hold a mayoral election on April 23.

Tomon Mitsuko, a progressive candidate jointly recommended by the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party and the Okinawa Social Mass Party, will take on a candidate recommended by the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties.

It is 8 years since the LDP and Komei Party seized power of the city administration, and the outcome of the election will have a serious impact not only on Okinawa but nationwide.

At issue in this election is the attitude toward the government trying to force Okinawa Prefecture to accept a new base as part of the U.S. military realignment scheme. The struggle over the military realignment plan in Okinawa is taking place between the LDP-Komei government and the people of Okinawa Prefecture.

Tomon said, "The government closes its ears to any opinions expressed by the prefectural people. The present state of Okinawa will never change unless local governments say clearly to the central government what they have to say." She said she will call on local municipalities hosting military bases to work together to settle the base issue.

The LDP-Komei candidate keeps silent about the government plan to construct a U.S. base on the shoreline of U.S. Camp Schwab and the U.S. military realignment plan. LDP Research Commission on Security Chair Yamasaki Taku has visited Okinawa many times to put pressure on the Nago mayor who publicly promised to oppose the shoreline plan. This high handed measure has deepened the contradiction between the prefectural people and the government.
- Akahata, April 4, 2006

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