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SECURITY > Okinawa

Assemblies of 3 Okinawa cities reject referendum-related budgets

  • December 20, 2018
  • , Jiji Press , 9:43 p.m.
  • English Press

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)–The assemblies of three cities in Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, on Thursday voted down their respective draft supplementary budgets including funds to cover costs for administrative work related to a planned prefectural referendum on a U.S. base relocation plan.

The three cities are Ginowan, Okinawa and Uruma. The referendum on Feb. 24, 2019, will ask Okinawa voters whether they approve or disapprove the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air station in Ginowan to the Henoko coastal district in the city of Nago in the prefecture.

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki’s hopes to hold the referendum in all 41 Okinawa municipalities now appears difficult, as five other Okinawa municipal assemblies, including that of the city of Miyakojima, have not approved related budgets, observers said.

The governor opposes the Futenma base relocation within the prefecture.

After the Ginowan assembly voted down the city’s draft supplementary budget, its mayor, Masanori Matsugawa, asked for a fresh deliberation on the extra budget. But the assembly rejected the budget again.

Later, Matsugawa told reporters that he will make a decision after careful consideration. “The rejection by the assembly is very grave,” he said, indicating the possibility of the city not joining the referendum.

The municipal assemblies of Okinawa and Uruma are expected to have fresh debates on the cities’ supplementary budgets in the near future, but they are likely to be rejected again.

The Okinawa prefectural government sees it possible to hold the referendum even if related budgets are rejected by municipal assemblies.

Also on Thursday, Kiichiro Jahana, deputy governor of Okinawa Prefecture, visited the city office of Miyakojima and sought cooperation from its mayor, Toshihiko Shimoji.

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