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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 January 9 - 15  > Okinawa governor requests Miyakojima mayor to rethink his refusal to participate in Henoko referendum
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2019 January 9 - 15 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Okinawa governor requests Miyakojima mayor to rethink his refusal to participate in Henoko referendum

January 10, 2019

Okinawa Governor Tamaki Denny on January 9 visited the Miyakojima City office building to ask Mayor Shimoji Toshihiko to participate in a prefectural referendum over the construction of a U.S. base in Nago’s Henoko district.

The prefectural referendum is scheduled to be held on February 24. However, at present, in addition to heads of Miyakojima, Okinawa, Ishigaki, and Uruma cities, the mayor of Ginowan City which hosts the U.S. Futenma base announced that the city government will refuse to cooperate in carrying out the referendum.

After the meeting with the Miyakojima mayor, answering questions from reporters, Tamaki said that after making a reconsideration request, he touched on the fact that Okinawans were deprived of their voting rights under the U.S. military occupation and explained to the mayor that in Okinawa, to guarantee citizens’ right to vote has an immense significance in the light of the prefecture’s suffrage movement history. The governor added that the mayor in reply said that it is indeed worrisome.

Meanwhile, Mayor Shimoji, asked by the press about his “worrisome” remark, said, “When thinking that my decision to refuse to participate in the referendum will be examined in the future, I really felt stressed.” The mayor, however, said that he will stick to his decision.

In front of the city office building, citizens in support of Tamaki assembled to push the mayor to hold the referendum in the city. One of the participants, Okudaira Kazuo, said, “The city mayor and city assemblypersons are chosen in open elections. The mayor and some of the lawmakers are now actually trying to sabotage the referendum. It is a human rights violation.”

*****

On this day in Ginowan City, a protest rally against Mayor Matsukawa Masanori’s refusal to participate in the referendum took place in front of the city office building. The rally was called for by a civil organization urging the city to join the prefecture-wide referendum.

Civil group’s co-leader Shimada Zenji cited the fact that Itoman City reversed its previous decision and decided to take part in the Henoko referendum, and said, “Let us work harder to have the mayor change his decision.”

Past related article:
> Okinawa to hold prefectural referendum over Henoko base project in February 2019 [November 28, 2018]
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