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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 September 26 - October 2  > Okinawans again choose opponent of Henoko project as their governor
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2018 September 26 - October 2 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Okinawans again choose opponent of Henoko project as their governor

October 2, 2018

Tamaki Denny, an opponent of the U.S. base construction project in the Henoko district, won in the Okinawa governor race on September 30. The Henoko project issue occupied center stage in the election. He received more than 390,000 votes, a record high in the gubernatorial elections in the prefecture.

The latest election followed the death of former Governor Onaga Takeshi who had stood firm against the controversial base project until his last moment of life. Voters in Okinawa, as they did in the previous gubernatorial election four years ago, expressed their opposition to the Abe government’s plan to construct a new U.S. base in Henoko as a replacement for the U.S. Futenma base in Ginowan City.

During the election campaign, Tamaki’s rival, former Ginowan City Mayor Sakima Atsushi, received the full backing of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komei Party, but garnered 310,000 votes, 80,000 votes less than Tamaki. On the other hand, Tamaki, who was a Liberal Party Dietmember, was endorsed by the “All Okinawa” coalition, including the Japanese Communist Party and other opposition parties. The voter turnout was 63%.

On the day after the election, Tamaki told reporters that he will inform the Japanese and U.S. governments that the U.S. base construction in Henoko is unacceptable and that the Futenma base should be closed and returned to Japan as soon as possible.

Some reporters noted that the prefectural government in August revoked its approval to the reclamation work in the Henoko district and that the central government is preparing an action aimed at reversing the revocation. In response, Tamaki said that in consultation with Okinawa government officials and legal experts, he will take a close look at what the central government is preparing and what the local government should do to counter the central government plan.

Concerning a bill to hold a prefectural referendum on the Henoko project which is under discussion in the prefectural assembly, Tamaki said that the bill needs to undergo thorough deliberations so that a referendum can properly take place. The prefectural government submitted the bill in response to a direct request made through a legal process by a group of Okinawans opposing the Henoko project.

Past related articles:
> Ordinance bill for referendum over Henoko base project submitted to Okinawa prefectural assembly [September 21, 2018]
> Shii pledges full support for anti-base candidate in Okinawa governor race [September 14, 2018]

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