National

First female mayor to call it a day

Kyodo

Harue Kitamura, Japan’s first female mayor, of Ashiya in Hyogo Prefecture, said Friday that she will not seek re-election due to her advancing age.

“I have decided that I should ask a person with fresh ideas to carry on the task of the town’s development, and therefore I will not run in the next mayoral election,” said Kitamura, 74. A lawyer by trade, Kitamura was first elected mayor of Ashiya in April 1991.

She is currently serving her third four-year term, which will end in June.

She has been at the helm during various local crises, such as the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, which killed more than 400 people in the city.

Inamine cites history in troops debate NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) Issues involving U.S. troops in Okinawa Prefecture should be considered on the basis of the war and postwar events, not simply by numerical comparisons, Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine said Friday, criticizing remarks by a senior Foreign Ministry official.

“Instead of the simple comparison of just numbers, it is necessary for us to look at the long history of 58 years” of U.S. forces being stationed in Japan, Inamine said at a news conference.

The governor was responding to remarks Tuesday by Hiroshi Hashimoto, the Foreign Ministry’s ambassador in charge of Okinawan affairs, that the rate of serious incidents involving U.S. troops in Okinawa was lower than that by local residents.

The U.S. military bases “are not something that Okinawa itself desired,” Inamine said. “The most basic thing is that there should not be even one accident caused by the U.S. troops.”