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67% plan to vote against Henoko, Kyodo News poll of Okinawan voters

  • February 18, 2019
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 1
  • JMH Translation

On Feb. 16–17, Kyodo News conducted a telephone-based public opinion poll of Okinawan voters on the prefectural referendum on the relocation of the U.S. military’s Futenma Air Station (Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture) to the Henoko district of Nago City. Some 67.6% of those who said that they will go vote in the referendum said that they are “opposed” while 15.8% said they are “in favor” and 13.1% said they are “neither in favor nor opposed.” Of all the respondents, 86.3% said the central government should respect the referendum outcome.


Including those who have already voted by casting a pre-voting day ballot or an absentee ballot, a plurality of 94% said that they will vote in the referendum. The turnout rate for the referendum is a focal point as there is a chance that the outcome will change depending on the actual turnout rate. The referendum on the land reclamation work being done as part of the relocation of the U.S. military facility to Henoko will take place on Feb. 24, except in some outlying islands.  


Separate from the question on the land reclamation, pollees were asked for their views on the relocation of the U.S. military facility to Henoko. A total of 72.8% said that they are either “opposed” or “generally opposed” to the relocation, and some 21.3% said they are either “in favor” or “generally in favor” of the project.


Asked why they are opposed, some 39.1% said “because Okinawa does not need another base” while 19.7% said “because Futenma should be relocated outside the prefecture or outside the country.” Asked why they are in favor, 54.9% said “because the dangers posed by Futenma need to be addressed” and 18.6% said “because it is necessary for Japan’s security.”


The 61.3% who said that they would cast a “neither” vote said they would do so “because I cannot definitively say I am ‘opposed’ or ‘in favor.’” Some 4.9% said that they either “will not vote” or “probably will not vote.” Asked why, 30.8% of this group said “because I don’t think the referendum is meaningful.”


The political party support rates were as follows: Liberal Democratic Party, 17.7%; Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, 7.4%; Social Democratic Party, 5.7%; Japanese Communist Party, 5.0%; Komeito, 3.5%; Okinawa Social Mass Party, 2.6%. Some 48.0% said that they are independents.


Polling methodology: The survey was conducted by telephone on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis on Feb. 16–17 targeting voters in Okinawa Prefecture. The survey covered 1,470 randomly selected households with eligible voters [by landline numbers], with responses collected from 1,047 people.



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