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Nago City Mayor's Election

Date Posted: 1998-02-07

Election fever is heating to new records in Nago where three candidates vie for the post of Mayor. The election is scheduled to be held Sunday. The proposed construction of the floating heliport off Henoko outside Camp Schwab is de facto only issue in the mayoral race as the issue proves to be increasingly divisive in the city.

The race started when the incumbent, Mayor Tetsuya Higa, resigned due to unpopular decision involving the helicopter referendum. The three candidates vying for the position are Yoshikazu Tamaki, 49, who is supported by the Socialist Parties aligned with (Okinawa) Gov. Masahide Ota. He is the main opponent of the proposed heliport plan. His main opponent, Takeo Kishimoto, 54, is backed by the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. He supports the heliport for the promised ecopnomic incentives he says are necessary to revitalize the moribund local economy.

The third candidate is Kiyoshi Tsujiyama, 43, who represents the Voice of Justice. He lives in Nara Prefecture in mainland Japan. The heliport referendum election has caused a split in the city. Residents' opinions are divided along economic, environmental, horticultural and political lines.

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