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POLITICS > Elections

Gov’t concerned assembly election results could lead to calls for Marines’ withdrawal

  • June 6, 2016
  • , Ryukyu Shimpo , p. 2
  • Translation

In view of the fact that the ruling camp led by Gov. Takeshi Onaga garnered a majority of the prefectural assembly seats in Sunday’s election, a senior Defense Ministry official said with disappointment: “I cannot rule out an adverse effect on Henoko. The question is how far the impact will spread.” Amid the intensifying reaction to the abandonment of the body of a Okinawan women by a former U.S. serviceman, the Defense Ministry official was concerned about the effect of the outcome of the prefectural assembly election not only on the plan to construct a new base in Henoko, Nago City, but also concerned that it could lead to calls for the Marines’ complete withdrawal, which was included in the resolution of protest adopted by the prefectural assembly.

 

Hearing a prompt report that the prefectural ruling camp secured a majority, a government source said: “This is a tough outcome. I did not expect that. We won’t be able to control the Okinawa government led by Onaga because we were overwhelmingly defeated.” A source connected to the LDP headquarters expressed a sense of alarm about the Upper House election in July, while pointing out: “The party’s prefectural federation should have fielded more candidates with an eye on a majority. Unless the party aims to increase the number of its members, it will be defeated again next time.”

 

Meanwhile, another senior Defense Ministry official attempted to downplay the result and said: “Although the base issue might become a campaign issue in national and gubernatorial elections, it probably won’t become a point of contention in municipalities which do not host U.S. bases.” Moves to minimize the impact of the assembly election on the Upper House poll will likely emerge in the government, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga saying, “It was an election to choose regional assembly members.”

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