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Scandal-ridden Miyako Jima picks new mayor

Date Posted: 2009-01-29

A former prefecture fisherman’s association chairman has defeated five other mayoral candidates by promising to lead Miyako Jima City in a responsible way.

Toshihiko Shimoji won the special mayoral election called after former Miyako Jima City Mayor Akira Ishimine assumed responsibility for a series of staff breeches of conduct and resigned. The 63-year-old Shimoji, backed by the Liberal Democratic Party, outperformed other candidates, despite their being backed by Miyako Jima City Assembly members.

A record 71.2% of the citizens turned out to vote, a far cry from a depressed 14.6% in the last election. The election was on a short turnaround because of Ishimine’s resignation last month, leaving little time for campaigning.

Shimoji campaigned with promises to “review that each district should have separate public offices and branches, and that leaders should take command and responsibility, and punish those who do bad things.” He pledged to have sections working together, and using natural gas for power generation to reduce carbon dioxide discharges and to reduce lighting expense. He also called for the Shimoji Jima airport to be used as an international emergency medical center.

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