Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo reported extensively on the results of the Upper House election on Sunday, highlighting former Ginowan Mayor Iha’s victory over Okinawa Affairs Minister Shimajiri in the single-seat constituency in Okinawa. The papers wrote that the Okinawan people’s opposition to the existing plan to relocate the Futenma functions to Henoko was clearly demonstrated in the election results, quoting Iha as telling reporters that local voters’ anger at the Abe administration was expressed in the election. Okinawa Governor Onaga said that the election gave fresh momentum to the prefecture’s efforts to block Futenma relocation. Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that an unnamed GOJ official expressed relief that there was little interest in Okinawa base issues at the national level during the election campaign. The official was quoted as saying that the central government will not withdraw the existing plan unless public calls for the review of the Henoko project spread nationwide, claiming that although the election was held immediately after the alleged murder involving a U.S. base worker, opposition parties did not bring up the incident or the base-hosting burden on Okinawa for discussion at party leader debates or on other occasions.
Both papers ran editorials on the election results, with Okinawa Times asserting that it has become impossible for the GOJ to uphold its plan to construct a new base if it respects democracy and that the central government should withdraw its unilateral contention that Henoko is the only option. Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that Okinawa will remain undaunted by the Abe administration’s hardline stance and that the local people’s vow to prevent harm from U.S. bases following the alleged murder is reflected in the election results.