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Pro-JSDF mayor wins reelection

Date Posted: 2009-08-06

Yonaguni Island’s mayor, who has asked Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces to move to his island, won reelection on Sunday.

Moriyoshi Hokama has contended the only way to stop the dwindling population in his community was to attract new blood, and he’s acted on that thought by asking Japan’s self defense forces to set up a base on Yonaguni. His mayoral election opponent, 51-year-old Chiyomoto Tasato, was against inviting the JSDF to take up residency on Yonaguni.

The mayor says he did extend the invitation to the Defense Agency, but notes he didn’t put the idea into his election campaign. “If I had put the issue of inviting the Self Defense Force into my manifesto, residents’’ public opinions would not have been heard. I wanted the people’s opinion, so I didn’t put it in,” Hokama said.

With the election come and gone—ballots were cast and counted the same day—Hokama says it’s time to begin planning for increasing Yonaguni’s population and building a strong economy. “By the end of the year, the Self Defense Force is going to make a plan for the island,” he says, “and I should be able to explain to the residents more in detail.”

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