Ex-Miyakojima Mayor Indicted for Bribery over GSDF Camp

Society

Naha, Okinawa Pref., June 2 (Jiji Press)--Public prosecutors on Wednesday indicted a former mayor of the city of Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, for allegedly receiving bribes over a land deal for the construction of a Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force camp.

According to the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office in Naha, the capital of the southernmost prefecture, Toshihiko Shimoji, 75, allegedly accepted 6 million yen in bribes on May 24, 2018, from Fujiyasu Shimoji, 64, then president of the operator of a golf course in Miyakojima, as a reward for helping the firm's sale of the site of the golf course to the Japanese government for the GSDF camp construction. The company was in debt at the time.

The prosecutors did not reveal whether the former mayor has admitted the charges.

Aiming to beef up the defense of Nansei islands in southwestern Japan amid China's increasing maritime assertiveness, Japan's Defense Ministry asked Miyakojima, an island city, in 2014 to consider hosting a GSDF camp, under a medium-term defense buildup program of the government. In June 2016, Toshihiko Shimoji, who was the city's mayor at the time, announced that it would accept the request.

After the ministry picked the land in question, the deployment of GSDF troops to the camp was completed in March last year.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press