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Gibo rides LDP coattails to Tomigusuku victory

Date Posted: 2010-10-14

Haruki Gibo is the new mayor of Tomigusuku City, winning Sunday’s election easily with the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.

The 42-year-old former Tomigusuku City Assemblyman had appealed to residents who liked his ideas on increasing the number of authorized nursery schools for the community, and promising that his youth would bring exuberance to his job performance in a city where the average resident’s age is 37. On winning, Gibo reaffirmed his goal to keep citizens “most important” in his administration, inviting more business opportunities and urban tourism to the Tomigusuku community. He says he’ll spread the wealth of employment.

Governor Hirokazu Nakaima had actively campaigned for Gibo, challenging opponents who argued against the LDP while pitching the need for reformist parties such as the Communist and Socialist Parties. Political observers say the trend seems to be changing; last year many Okinawa voters fled the LDP and Komeito, but are now coming back.

Gibo’s principal focus is now on promoting increased housing, and better serving his young constituent population, but he’s expected to return the support favor to Nakaima. The question, political analysts note, is whether Futenma will be a problem for Nakaima, of whether the practical realities of moving the controversial Marine Corps base from crowded Ginowan City to sparsely populated northern Okinawa makes more sense.

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