Mayor of Okinawa island calling for GSDF deployment re-elected


The mayor of Yonaguni, a town on Japan’s westernmost island near Taiwan, was re-elected in Sunday’s mayoral election, gaining support for his stance to seek deployment of Ground Self-Defense Force troops to spur the local economy, election returns showed.

Shukichi Hokama, 63, running on the ticket of the Liberal Democratic Party, won his third four-year term as the head of the town in Okinawa Prefecture, beating an independent challenger Shokichi Sakihara, 65, backed by such parties as the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party.

Sakihara, who is engaged in farming, was opposed to the GSDF deployment to the island with a population of about 1,550, which is located some 110 kilometers away from Taiwan.

The central government is planning to garrison a coastal monitoring unit in Yonaguni in an apparent response to China’s growing naval activity in the East China Sea.

  • ff

    Ok so let me get this straight, the US troops are such a burden and must go, but the GSDF should come because they are not and can help boom the local economy.. something the US soldiers could do more of, and it provides more security.. and less of a burden on other parts of Okinawa.. Anybody else see the insanity with this?

    • JimmyJM

      Here’s the way it works. Would you want a foreign army in your home town or an army made up of your own people if you could choose? Remember, this is a small island located in an area that China will soon claim as its own (if it hasn’t already). And the u.S. has expressed a reluctance in getting involved in a fracas between China and Japan. The mayor is being very logical.

      • Ron NJ

        Don’t confuse Panetta’s stating that the US will not take sides in a territorial dispute as meaning that the US will not honor its security treaty obligations. The two are separate issues.
        Your point about foreign vs local forces is legitimate, though.

      • JimmyJM

        I certainly hope the US would honor its treaty obligations but I am skeptical. There are a lot of factors involved, particularly in the US/China relationship, that might hold the US back. And under the current administration, the US has been reluctant to get involved in foreign entanglements. This, to my libertarian mind, is not a bad thing. I would hope though that treaty obligations would outweigh that reluctance but I would hedge my bets which is what Japan appears to be doing. And China seems to be betting the US, under the current administration, won’t become involved in its dispute with Japan. But Beijing also realizes that a more rightist administration might choose to become involved. So they realize they need to act before that possibility occurs.

      • How can you define its result to be “the way it works”?
        How would 553:506 look to be “they don’t want a foreign army in their home town” or “They’re afraid of whether China will soon claim as its own” ?
        Please don’t make it exaggerated, you seem to be pretty delusional, the world is not necessarily seen in others mind as how you see.
        Also, when was the time that China officially clamed that Okinawa to be theirs?
        It’s a thesis in my undertanding, and I don’t understand why would we have to take it as their threat to take force.

      • JimmyJM

        Okay Nancy, let me rephrase what I intended to say. “The way it works” refers to human psychology. If you were going to have military people in your home town, would you prefer people you know or foreigners? With the possible exception of Egypt, Syria, or Somalia, I can’t think of anyone who would prefer foreign troops in their area.

        Next, I never said “afraid”. Ignoring your insults, China may not have “officially” claimed Okinawa yet but Beijing did lay the ground work (make preparations) by allowing its state run media to publish several articles as reported in the Japan Times, that said Okinawa had been part of China. The royal families of the Ryukus did pay tribute to both China and Japan and China could base a claim to the islands on that.

        China’s tactics (as shown in Tibet, Xinjiang, Scarborough Shoals and in parts of India) is to claim an area and then move as many Han Chinese into that area as possible. They then bring in their military to “protect” their citizens. While that won’t happen for most of the Ryukus, it is entirely likely that China will try that for the Senkaku Islands. That in turn could lead to a military confrontation. They have already armed the Coast Guard vessels that make daily forays into Japanese waters around the Senkakus. If Japan can’t respond and the US won’t respond, then it is a fait accompli and China will possess the Senkaku Islands and the waters around them. And then perhaps other outlying islands will interest them.

      • Thank you for your reply.
        I think you’ve forgotten something crucial, that “when or why they started to do so? who pulled the trigger(of the Senkaku dispute) first? or who tangled things? “, maybe you don’t know “much”.
        But it’s not your fault, as well as even many of us are not knowing it, for our less education of history, and apathy toward decent issues, it’s not odd if “you” have not much idea about it.
        I don’t blame you, since you’re not one of us, even I had to preach and teach you if you were.
        It seems there’s no responsibility of me to do so with you.
        I think you have somthing worth to care about but a Japanese territorial issue, maybe it’s actually not a kind of which, just an addiction to conspiracy.
        You’re just making fun with my country, better just take care of yours, your concern is not required.

    • Christopher Davis

      Dude, this is one governor of one very small island at the very westernmost edge of Okinawa prefecture. This does not represent the opinion of the average Okinawan, in particular those who are opposed to US military bases.