In the new administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga retained the post of Minister in Charge of Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa, while a new Cabinet member, Yosuke Tsuruho, took the post of Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, a position in charge of vitalizing the Okinawa economy. The issue of a new base construction in Henoko, Nago City, continues to fall under Suga’s jurisdiction.
The administration continues to take an unyielding position on the contentious base issue, and it brought the dispute with Okinawa to the court for the second time. However, the ruling parties have lost all six seats from Okinawa in both chambers—a crystal-clear barometer of the Okinawa people’s anti-base sentiment. The administration’s “carrot and stick” approach that links the base burden and financial aid has failed, as evidenced by the defeat of then minister for Okinawa Aiko Shimajiri in the last upper house election. The Okinawa people’s understanding obtained through dialogue is the only path to a solution of the issue.