SDF Base Opponent Re-Elected in Southern Japan Mayoral Poll

Politics

Kagoshima, Jan. 31 (Jiji Press)--Nishinoomote Mayor Shunsuke Yaita, 67, was re-elected Sunday, receiving support for his rejection of a plan to build a Self-Defense Forces base in the Kagoshima Prefecture city in southwestern Japan.

Independent candidate Yaita defeated his only contender, local commerce chamber head Kiyonobu Fukui, 71, who was backed by the prefectural chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party. Voter turnout was 80.17 pct.

The SDF base, to be built on the uninhabited island of Mageshima, part of Nishinoomote, is set to host field carrier landing practice, or FCLP, for U.S. carrier-borne aircraft.

But Yaita exceeded Fukui only by a narrow margin of 144 votes, showing a divide among Nishinoomote residents over the base plan.

During his campaign, Yaita stressed concerns about the negative environmental impact of the base plan and claimed that the current Japan-U.S. status of forces agreement is not enough to protect local residents from possible problematic behavior of U.S. military personnel.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press