Kantoku Teruya, Ex-Lawmaker from Okinawa, Dies at 76

Society Politics

Tokyo, April 15 (Jiji Press)--Kantoku Teruya, a former House of Representatives lawmaker from Okinawa Prefecture active in tackling issues associated with U.S. military bases in the southernmost Japan prefecture, died of cancer at a hospital in the Okinawa town of Nishihara on Friday. He was 76.

Born on the Pacific island of Saipan, Teruya became a lawyer in Okinawa in 1972 and dealt with problems arising from U.S. bases, which are concentrated in the prefecture. In a lawsuit over noise damage from the U.S. Kadena Air Base, he joined a group of plaintiffs.

Teruya's restless efforts to reduce Okinawa's burden of hosting a number of U.S. bases and revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, which governs U.S. troops stationed in Japan, made him known as a leading expert in Okinawa issues.

After serving as a prefectural assembly member, he ran in the 1995 House of Councillors election as an independent and won a seat in the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.

Teruya failed to return to the Upper House in the next election. But he switched to the Lower House in the 2003 election, running on the ticket of the Social Democratic Party from Okinawa's No. 2 district, and was elected six times in a row.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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