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Former Nago City mayor eulogized

Date Posted: 2006-04-07

Key Japanese government officials flocked to Okinawa Sunday to pay homage to Nago City Mayor Takeo Kishimoto.

Kishimoto, who had been mayor from 1999 to January of this year, died March 27th. He was 62, and had been in ill health for an extended period. Health issues stopped Kishimoto for running for reelection last Fall.

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Taro Aso, led the funeral delegation, calling Kishimoto a champion of justice for his community. The Director General of the Defense Agency, Fukushiro Nakaga, joined Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine and current Nago City Mayor Yoshikazu Shimabukuro.

Shimabukuro called Kishimoto a dear friend during his oration, saying “I thought I was going to get advice more from him, and now we’re gone.” He pledged to inherit the former mayor’s sprit to develop and promote Nago City to his very best ability.

Kishimoto’s son stole the spotlight though, eulogizing his father as a peacemaker. “My father loved the word,” he said, “and told me to ‘make peace with everybody’. Right before his heart stopped beating, he said to me twice ‘No side. Don’t fight, make a peace!”

He explained that ‘No side’ is a rugby term meaning that when the game ends, there are no more sides and no more enemies. Kishimoto’s son said his father wanted peace in the Nago City community.

Politics did enter the funeral site, though, as talk spread to the need for Nago City’s agreement to a new airfield plan for nearby Camp Schwab. Foreign Minister Aso and Director General Nakaga said “we don’t have much time. We have to make a decision soon” on the Futenma Air Station transfer issue.

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