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New Ginowan mayor vows to oppose Futenma base

Date Posted: 2012-03-02

Atsushi Sakima says he’ll continue his lobbying to get Futenma Marine Corps Air Station kicked out of Okinawa Prefecture.

The newly elected mayor of Ginowan City had campaigned for the seat promising to improve the city’s economy, but also promising to oppose Futenma’s continued operation in central Okinawa. “Realistically, the Henoko relocation plan is impossible,” says Sakima. Sakima had been supported by Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who also opposes the continued operation of Futenma. “Sakima won because of his position on moving the base outside Okinawa,” says the governor.

Sakima eked out a narrow 900-vote win over former Ginowan Mayor Yoichi Iha, putting a conservative into City Hall for the first time in 27 years. Iha had been backed by the Socialist and Communist parties, while the Liberal Democratic Party supported Sakima.

The new mayor, who Tokyo had hoped would soften his anti-Futenma position and support moving the base to northern Okinawa, has rejected that notion. Instead, he’s speaking out more forcefully against having the controversial air base in his city.

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