In advance of the Nago mayoral election set for Feb. 4, the Yomiuri Shimbun probed local voters’ sentiment by conducting a telephone-based opinion poll and field survey. Mayor Susumu Inamine (72), who is seeking his third term and is opposed to the relocation of U.S. MCAS Futenma (Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture) to Nago City’s Henoko district, is leading, and Taketoyo Toguchi (56), who is backed by the ruling parties, is close behind. The situation remains in flux, however, as about 20% of voters are not sure of how they will vote.
Inamine has garnered the backing of over 90% of the supporters of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, and the Social Democratic Party. Slightly less than 30% of Komeito supporters back Inamine although the party has backed Toguchi. In the previous election, Komeito did not endorse any candidate, so it was a “free vote” for Komeito supporters. About 80% of LDP supporters said they will support Toguchi while slightly over 40% of Komeito supporters said they will as well.
Asked to indicate the focal issues in the election (multiple responses permitted), 59% of respondents said “relocation of MCAS Futenma,” making it the most frequent response. The Japanese and U.S. governments have agreed to relocate the air station to Nago City’s Henoko district. Asked about the relocation, some 69% said that the air station “should be relocated outside the prefecture,” while 17% said the project “should move forward as planned.”
In the Nago election, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who is opposed to the relocation, is supporting Inamine while the ruling parties are backing Toguchi. The mayoral race is seen as a prelude to the gubernatorial election this autumn. Some 59% of respondents said that they back Governor Onaga, and 27% said that they support the Abe cabinet.
This survey of Nago City voters was conducted on Jan. 28–29 on a random digit dialing basis. Responses were received from 762 persons (out of the 1,367 households confirmed to have one or more eligible voters), for a response rate of 56%.