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POLITICS > Elections

Okinawa candidate for Upper House election reiterates opposition to Henoko plan

  • June 14, 2022
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times reported on Iha Yoichi’s announcement of his campaign platform on Monday. Iha will seek reelection to the House of Councillors from the Okinawa election district. Ryukyu Shimpo wrote that Iha cited three pillars of his platform — the recovery of Okinawa’s economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, opposition to the FRF construction at Henoko, and efforts to prevent Okinawa from becoming a battlefield again. Concerning Futenma relocation, Iha said the people of Okinawa have already expressed their opposition to the Henoko plan through national elections and a prefectural referendum in the past and that he would like to prevent construction of the replacement facility by winning the upcoming election, adding that his victory and Governor Tamaki’s victory in the gubernatorial election in September would be a shortcut to persuading the U.S. and Japanese governments to give up on the Henoko project. The paper wrote that Iha placed economic recovery at the top of his agenda to appeal to unaffiliated voters who are interested in issues other than bases.

 

Okinawa Times also wrote that Iha, who is planning to run in the election as an independent candidate with the support of the “All Okinawa” anti-Henoko group, stressed that economic recovery is the major focus of his campaign, adding that he is determined to win the election to reaffirm the Okinawa people’s opposition to the construction at Henoko. Pointing out that only 24, or 20%, of the 123 agenda items he pledged to tackle are related to base issues, peace, or the Constitution, the paper speculated that Iha expanded the scope of his campaign platform based on the judgment that it would be difficult for him to win wide support from Okinawa voters only through the opposition to the Henoko plan. The paper noted that when Iha first won his seat in the Upper House election in 2016, the FRF construction at Henoko was the biggest campaign issue in Okinawa because interest in the project grew following the murder of a local woman by a U.S. base civilian employee in April 2016.

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