Mikio Shimoji announces intent to run for governor

The former president of a local Okinawan political party Souzou, 52-year- old Mikio Shimoji from Miyako Island announced, Jul. 31st, his intention to seek the seat of the Okinawa governor in the Nov. 16 gubernatorial election.

In a speech to supporter at a hotel in Naha, Shimoji pledged to have a referendum among Okinawa voters about the planned move of the MCAS Futenma to a new facility on Camp Schwab in Henoko. He said that his proposed referendum would take place about six month after the gubernatorial election, and allow the Okinawan people make a direct and binding decision on the controversial matter. “This is the obvious way to make the final decision,” he said.

He said that he would run in the election as an independent.

Simoji also said the local economy still lags behind the rest of the country, as does the academic achievement of students here. “It is important that we think how we can solve those issues,” Shimoji said. He also stated that it’s necessary for a new generation of politicians to take the helm with their new ideas and concepts.

Shimoji is accusing incumbent Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima of winning his seat in the last gubernatorial election with the promise of not moving the MCAS Futenma to Henoko and then changing his mind after winning the election.

He also accuses Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga, who is another prospective candidate in the election of having preciously been in favor of the government’s Henoko plan but now opposing it.