Yonaguni council passes referendum ordinance over Japanese Self-Defense Force

November 18, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 17, Yonaguni Town Council passed a referendum ordinance asking residents if they accept the deployment of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force to Yonaguni Island. The council voted 3-to-2 in favor of having a referendum. The Ministry of Defense plans to place a coastal monitoring unit on the island. However, Town Mayor Shukichi Hokama showed his opposition in calling the referendum, suggesting that the plan should be scrapped.

It is not yet clear whether the referendum will be held.

According to the Local Government Act, if the head of the local government objects to the decision of the council, he or she may submit a resolution for reconsideration. The mayor said, “I want to scrutinize the contents of the referendum ordinance. In some cases, I will subject it to reconsideration.” The council requires two thirds of its members or more, including the chairman, in order to pass the referendum proposal returned by the mayor.

The referendum proposal will likely be rejected because the town council consists ofthree members of the ruling party and three of the opposition party.

The proposal ordinance provides that; the voting age is a first-grade student of junior high school age (12-years-old) or older, and the mayor must carry out the referendum 60 days from the effective date. The mayor must also strive to realize the will of the residents reflected in the referendum, consulting with the government and its relevant agencies.

(English translation by T&CT)

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