13:30-15:00 Thursday, February 13, 2014
Susumu Inamine, Mayor of Nago, Okinawa
The municipal government of Nago, Okinawa, has stood firm where many others have retreated. Since the end of 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have racked up a nearly unbroken series of electoral victories across the nation. In terms of policy and electoral outcomes, Japan has thus far lacked a force, at both the municipal and prefectural level, that is capable of opposing the LDP and disrupting its winning streak. No one, that is, except Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine.
The ruling party, which has agreed with the U.S. to build a new U.S. Marine air base at Henoko beach, pulled out all the stops to defeat Inamine in last month's mayoral elections. They forced one candidate to withdraw so they could unite behind a single, pro-base challenger. They also appealed to patriotism and promised to invest significant amounts of money in the development of Nago. LDP cabinet members and other prominent figures from the ruling party even appeared on the streets of Nago, which is home to roughly 60,000 people. And when it was over, Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine won a crushing re-election victory that sent shock waves through Tokyo and Washington, DC.
Come to the FCCJ to find out how this former superintendent of the Nago school system has risen to become a political force that the Abe regime has been unable to defeat, an obstacle that the US Pentagon has struggled to remove, and a symbol of local Okinawan resistance that cannot be ignored.