All networks reported at noon on the results of the Nago mayoral election on Sunday, in which former Nago City assembly member Taketoyo Toguchi, who was backed by the LDP and Komeito, defeated the incumbent Mayor Inamine, who was opposed to the Futenma relocation plan. Fuji TV said Okinawa Governor Onaga will now have a tough time maneuvering as he apparently no longer has the support of “the will of the Okinawan people.”
Fuji TV also reported that although an unnamed GOJ official expressed a cautious view by saying that “the result of the election does not necessarily reflect the will of the Okinawan people,” there is no doubt that the outcome will be a powerful boost for the challenger in the Okinawa gubernatorial election in the fall. The network quoted Prime Minister Abe as telling reporters this morning: “I knew it would be difficult to defeat the incumbent mayor and I’m really glad we won….As for the base issue, we will obtain the understanding of the people of Nago and move forward in line with the Supreme Court ruling.” The network said the victory of a candidate backed by the GOJ and the ruling parties is a major achievement amid the recent problems involving U.S. military helicopters and heckling at the Diet by a senior vice minister. The network said that having such important figures as Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga and the LDP’s Shinjiro Koizumi visit Nago before the election led to victory in what was virtually a trial run for the gubernatorial election. The network said the GOJ is expected to move forward with the relocation plan and reduce the base-hosting burden on Okinawa concurrently while gauging trends in public opinion and the views of those opposed to the relocation.