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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 31 - February 6  > Anti-base candidate falls short of being reelected to Okinawa's Nago City mayor
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2018 January 31 - February 6 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Anti-base candidate falls short of being reelected to Okinawa's Nago City mayor

February 6, 2018
In the Nago City mayoral election on February 4 in Okinawa, an anti-base incumbent came very close to a pro-base opponent, receiving 16,931 votes or 45.36% of total votes cast.

In the one-on-one battle with Toguchi Taketoyo who was backed by the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties, Inamine Susumu declared his total opposition to the construction of a new base in Henoko and unsuccessfully sought his third term in office with support from the Japanese Communist Party, Social Democratic Party, Political Local Party of Okianwa, Liberal, Democratic, and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

The Komei Party in the last mayoral race was opposed to the Henoko base construction and did not support an LDP candidate who favored the new base, leaving the act of voting up to its members. However, the Komei Party this time altered its previous position and supported LDP Toguchi. More than 100 LDP national Dietmembers visited Okinawa to endorse Toguchi while taking advantage of all the strength the Abe-led LDP/Komei government has.

During the election campaign, Inamine appealed to voters that he will use the mayor's authority and will work with Govenor Onaga Takeshi to stop the base construction in Henoko, saying, "Our city does not need a dangerous air station. We want a bright future for our children."

In contrast, the Toguchi camp adopted the tactic of shying away from touching on the base issue because they knew that this controversy would directly determine the election result. In fact, Toguchi did not utter even a single word about the U.S. bases in Okinawa.

After the election, Inamine said that his message did not sufficiently reach the people with the LDP and the Komei keeping silent about the major campaign issue. Yet, Inamine focused his attention on the slow pace of the construction work whose process is still at a less-than-1% stage of the total project. He said, "We can still stop it. We won't give up."

Also after the election, Governor Onaga told the press that another base is not necessary in Okinawa for its future development. He said, "Military aircraft like Ospreys flying over people's heads on a steady basis has a negative effect on Okinawa's tourism."

JCP Shii comments on the Nago election result

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on February 5 published a comment on the result of the Nago City mayoral election. He stated, "The JCP will continue making efforts to create a peaceful and prosperous Okinawa with no military bases."

Noting the fact that over 60% of Nago citizens in exit polls answered they "oppose" the new base in Henoko, Shii said, "The election result does not automatically mean that Nago citizens accept the Henoko base."

Past related articles:
> Anti-base ‘All Okinawa’ candidate wins Nanjo City mayoral election [January 23, 2018]
> Anti-base incumbent’s victory in Nago mayoral race will pave way for an Okinawa free of US bases [January 21, 2018]
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