The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Okinawa Prefectural Government are at odds over the vision for the future development of Okinawa, which will mark the 50th anniversary of its reversion to Japan next year. The LDP is calling on the prefectural government to drastically review its Okinawa development plan with an eye on security considerations. But the prefectural government is calling for the continuation of preferential treatment without regard to security issues.
At an online meeting on Aug. 5, Chairperson Obuchi Yuko of the LDP Research Commission for the Promotion and Development of Okinawa made a request to Okinawa Gov. Tamaki Denny. “We want the Okinawa Prefectural Government to not resort to symptomatic treatment but to thoroughly examine the root causes of problems,” she said.
Obuchi believes that Okinawa is making inadequate efforts to solve child poverty and to address the fact that Okinawa has the lowest income level in the country. During the meeting, she called on the prefecture to do more than just set up support facilities for children and urged it to improve parents’ income levels and clarify the causes of the low income levels.
Prior to the meeting, the LDP finalized a set of proposals regarding the prefecture’s development, which it will submit to the central government. The main focus of the proposals is security. The proposals say Okinawa’s development “will contribute to stability in the Asia Pacific region as part of comprehensive security.” The proposals target not only bridging disparities between the Japanese mainland and Okinawa but also examining Okinawa’s role in light of China’s maritime advancement in the East China and South China Seas, given that Okinawa has many remote border islands and U.S. military bases.
At a press conference on Aug. 6, Tamaki said, “Smooth exchange (with China and other countries) will enable Japan to build peaceful ties with these countries without needing to emphasize security.” “All Okinawa,” a pro-Tamaki group led by reformists, is wary that developments in the region may lead to the establishment of permanent U.S. military bases in the prefecture. (Abridged)