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'Anti-everything' popularity propels Shimoji to poll lead

Date Posted: 2009-08-27

Mikio Shimoji says he’s been there, done that, and still has a lot more to do for Okinawa’s First Election District.

The 48-year-old People’s New Party candidate and current member of the House of Representatives isn’t shy, speaking out clearly about everything he believes and supports. Representing a district encompassing Naha City, Kitadaitou Island, Minami Daitou Island, Tonaki Island, Zamami Island, Tokashiki Island, Kume Island, and Aguni Village, Shimoji’s claiming support of about 70% of the democratic party’s support, and also about 70% of the socialist party’s support.

Shimoji is seemingly everywhere, visiting constituents in small groups, at MOI groups, going anywhere independent voters can see and talk to him. He’s so popular, the common talk is that Shimoji’s soon to be filling a Cabinet minister post. He’s a shoe-in to win Sunday’s election, riding his policy pledge “never to up the consumption tax.”

“I would rather go the other way,” he says, “like zeroing the food consumption tax, reducing fixed rate taxes, then making a monthly remittance tax reduction, and then move on to make peoples’ pay go up.” The anything-but-shy Shimoji says “If I win the election, I’ll not raise any taxes.” Shimoji stands fast that Article 9 of the Constitution should stay in place “no matter what; it says abandonment of the war and peaceful world is best for us.” He’s also against the Guam agreement that would send 8,000 Marines and another 9,000 American military dependents off Okinawa, and says the construction of a new U.S. military airfield outside Henoko should be stopped. “The new base is not Okinawan peoples’ wishes,” he says.

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