GSDF base plan gains nod from Yonaguni

Yonaguni etched closer to accepting Japan Ground Self Defense Forces’ plans to establish a base on the westernmost island of Japan as the incumbent Yonaguni Mayor Shukichi Hokama won the third term in office. The election was largely focused on question whether the island should host a contingency of GSDF troops on its soil.

During the election campaign, 63-year-old Hokama argued that it would be good for the island’s sagging economical fortunes to have the GSDF to establish its planned coast observation unit on the island as that would benefit the local economy.

The result shows that enough people agreed with him. After the results of the election were announced, he said that he will have to make people understand why having the self-defense forces on the island is good. He said “I would like to make this town a better place for everybody from now on without discrimination.”

Hokama was the official candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party, and backed by the New Komeito.

Hokama’s’ contender was 65-year-old Shokichi Sakihara who ran as an independent and was backed by the Communist and Social Democratic parties, and some local groups. In his campaign he called for votes against the deployment and a local referendum on the plan. However, the effort failed.

The GSDF aims to have its unit on the island by the end of fiscal 2015 that ends in March 2016.