“Okinawa,” the ruling parties’ floor group in the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, launched on May 27 the “political and economic council to support Governor Onaga” for the purpose of backing Governor Takeshi Onaga in the gubernatorial election this fall. Prefectural assembly member Noboru Akamine was named the group’s chairman. It will cooperate with the “coordination council” comprising Okinawa’s ruling parties, the Okinawa chapter of Rengo (Japan Trade Union Confederation), and various companies, which have also decided to support Onaga. It will focus on winning the support of the conservative middle-of-the-roaders, among whom Onaga is considered to enjoy weak support, in order to help him win reelection.
The vice chairmen of the new group are Okinawa Ham Chairman Tokumatsu Nagahama and Kariyushi Group President Satoshi Toyama, while Prefectural Assembly member Shoichi Taira will serve as its secretary general.
Naha City Mayor Mikiko Shiroma, Nanjo City Mayor Chobin Zukeran, Nishihara Town Mayor Akira Uema, Chatan Town Mayor Masaharu Noguni, Nakagusuku Village Mayor Kyosuke Hamada, and conservative middle-of-the-road municipal assembly members, as well as representatives of the 107 companies that left the “All Okinawa Council,” including the Kanehide Group, were present at the inaugural meeting held at the Elderly Welfare Center in Okinawa City on May 27. The “Okinawa” floor group plans to call on more companies and local lawmakers to participate in the council.
A secretariat will be created under the council to discuss the timing to request Onaga’s candidacy in the gubernatorial race and a policy committee will be set up to discuss the economic policies to be advocated in the election campaign.
Only the initial part of the inaugural meeting was open to the press. Akamine told reporters after the meeting: “Our goal is to support Governor Onaga’s political activities and help him win a second term. We intend to call on various companies to join us in order to form an organization around Governor Onaga.”
Regarding the reason for forming the council despite the existence of the “All Okinawa Council” supporting Onaga, Akamine said: “While there is much talk about an ‘all Okinawa’ force, its substance remains very ambiguous. Our role is to work with the business sector, which was instrumental for Mr. Onaga’s election as governor, to expand the network.”