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Gima claims easy win In Urasoe City election

Date Posted: 2005-02-11

The man supporting continued good relations between Camp Kinser and Urasoe City picked up a seamless victory against two opponents in Sunday’s mayoral election.

Mitsuo Gima, 61, scored 24,493 votes of 49,783 cast. Primary challenger Minoru Higa racked up 21,589, while Communist Party candidate Morinobu Nishihira had 3,701. Voter turnout was recorded at 65.69%

Gima had been promoting west coast development in Urasoe City, an area that encompasses the Marine Corps’ Camp Kinser. A key element in that area is the upcoming move of Naha Military Port to Urasoe City, a plan Gima embraced in his platform. He’s also a strong development enthusiast.

The incumbent mayor is a strong advocate of strengthening local economic policy, and has taken the initiative in restructuring his city’s plans to accommodate government reforms that reduce subsidies from Tokyo down to a trickle. He’s already reforming his city staff, privatizing some previously government activities, including kindergarten operations.

Gima had the support of Governor Keiichi Inamine and Takeshi Onaga, the mayor of neighboring Naha City. His first four-year term was focused on coastal development and jobs creation. His policies have been well accepted by constituents.

Challenger Minoru Higa says he couldn’t get a good case together, and “I couldn’t make a strong case for a campaign. Besides, five assembly members took Mayor Gima’s side, and they had to return with him for another four years.”

Losing candidate Morinobu Nishihira blamed his loss on a late start to the campaign. He acknowledged that everyone knew him, and that he’d done his best, but said simply not enough people were listening.

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