NAHA – 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.
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