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POLITICS > Elections

Candidates for Upper House election discuss key election issues

  • June 21, 2022
  • , Okinawa Times
  • JMH Summary

Okinawa Times reported on a discussion held on Monday between Iha Yoichi and Koja Genta, who are expected to run in the July House of Councillors election from the Okinawa election district. Both candidates agreed on the need for reconstructing the local economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Incumbent Upper House lawmaker Iha, who is supported by the “All Okinawa” anti-Henoko group, reiterated his opposition to the FRF construction at Henoko, while Koja, who is backed by the LDP, expressed approval for the Henoko plan. Iha said that an additional base-hosting burden should not be placed on the people of Okinawa and that the Henoko plan is difficult to achieve both technically and politically. Koja said that he accepts the Henoko plan as a feasible option to remove the danger at the Futenma Air Station. Concerning the possibility of reviewing the U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, Iha called for a drastic review of the accord, while Koja cited the need for Japanese access to U.S. bases for environmental surveys. On the allegation that U.S. bases are the source of PFAS contamination, both candidates expressed hope for the U.S. military to allow Japanese authorities to conduct on-site surveys. Concerning the GOJ’s plan to increase Japan’s defense budget, Iha insisted that the central government reduce its spending for hosting U.S. forces, while Koja expressed hope that the GOJ will carefully discuss how to use taxpayer money for ensuring peace and stability in Japan and Okinawa as well as in the Asia Pacific region.

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