Gov't under pressure to fire defense official over Okinawa election request
The government on Thursday came under pressure from opposition parties in the Diet to fire a senior defense official in Okinawa for asking local bureau staff to vote in the Feb 12 mayoral election in Ginowan.
The election is expected to be crucial in deciding the future of the U.S. air base at Futenma which is at the center of a years-long dispute between Okinawa and the central government.
Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka told reporters that he has not yet made a decision on whether to fire Ro Manabe as director-general of the Okinawa Defense Bureau. Manabe will speak in the Diet on Friday as an unsworn witness, TBS reported.
The opposition Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties accused the Defense Ministry of trying to influence the outcome of the election.
Manabe was appointed to his current job in December after his predecessor—Satoshi Tanaka—was fired for “rape” remarks.