In advance of the Nago mayoral election set for Feb. 4, the Asahi Shimbun and Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (QAB) probed local voters’ sentiment by conducting a field survey and telephone-based opinion poll on Jan. 28–29. The relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture) to Nago City’s Henoko district will be a key issue in the election, and a fierce battle is unfolding between Mayor Susumu Inamine (72), who is opposed to the relocation, and former Nago municipal assembly member Taketoyo Toguchi (56), who takes the position of in effect allowing the relocation.
There is a chance that the situation may change, however, as some 20% of Nago City voters did not clearly indicate their positions.
An analysis of the respondents who did clearly indicate their positions reveals that Inamine, who is seeking his third term, has made inroads with the supporters of the Democratic Party (DP), the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Okinawa Social Mass Party, and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) and has garnered the support of 70% of independents. The DP, JCP, SDP, and Okinawa Social Mass Party have endorsed Inamine, and the CDPJ has decided to support him as well. Over 60% of women said they support Inamine, and he has attracted a comparatively large portion of the vote of those middle aged or older.
Some 90% of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) supporters and the majority of Komeito supporters said they will vote for Toguchi. Both the LDP and Komeito have endorsed Toguchi in the election. In the previous election, Komeito did not endorse any candidate, so it was a “free vote” for Komeito supporters. Toguchi has not been able to attract independents, but he has garnered the support of a comparatively large percentage of those in their 30s or under.
Polling methodology for the Asahi Shimbun-QAB joint opinion poll of Nago City voters: The survey was conducted on Jan. 28–29 on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis of voters in Nago City with telephone calls placed by pollsters to landline numbers. Valid responses were received from 673 persons (out of 1,439 households found to have one or more eligible voters). The valid response rate was 47%.