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Two to challenge Gima for Urasoe City mayor

Date Posted: 2009-01-15

Incumbent Urasoe City Mitsuo Gima has two challengers in the upcoming Urasoe City mayoral election February 8th.
The 65-year-old Gima is emphasizing his role as successful city mayor as he seeks a third term. He’s being confronted by the Communist Party’s Morinobu Nishihira, 58, and by 65-year-old Minoru Higa. Gima’s touting his role in taking care of children, adding children’s centers for each school, and setting up a program for native English speaking teachers in schools.
Minoru Higa is running for office with a slogan “Go together with the Prefecture governor and support Okinawan government.” Higa’s campaign posters show him with governor Hirokazu Nakaima, and his emphasis is on utilizing local construction companies for construction projects, and not permitting outside companies to win the contracts.
“Let’s make a big voice against the transfer of the American military port to Urasoe City” is the theme behind Morinobu Nishihira’s campaign. He opposes plans to shift the American Army’s sprawling Naha Military Port to Urasoe City in an area behind Camp Kinser. He’s also opposing west coast shore reclamation and development, and against bringing casinos to the community. Mayor Gima has suggested bringing casinos to the area now occupied by Camp Kinser, known to Okinawans as Makiminato Supply Base, upon its return to Japanese control.
Gima won his first reelection bid four years ago, defeating two opponents. With little time for campaigning, citizens expect to be deluged with information over the coming three weeks. The Urasoe City mayoral race is being watched by other communities as well, hoping for an insight as to 2009 political trends.

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