The November 19 Okinawa election campaign to select a new governor started today. The campaign will be a duel between Keiko Itokazu, who is supported by the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and others, and Hirokazu Nakaima, backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
A key issue is what to do with the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Relocating the controversial Futenma air station was the focal issue in two previous gubernatorial elections, notes the Asahi:
Keiichi Inamine, the incumbent governor, won election eight years ago for endorsing the move within the prefecture on the condition that the new airfield be used for 15 years only.
However, the initial plan to construct the base offshore of Henoko sank under protest from local residents and their supporters. Tokyo and Washington then came up with an alternative plan to build the base on land at Henoko point.
But this time, Inamine refused to go along, insisting he "could not accept a plan that had once been scrapped." Now he is retiring without having achieved a resolution of the thorny issue.
Keiko Itokazu, 59, says she will demand the base be moved outside of Japan. Kumagai Shinichiro has written about her in the Japan Focus story Can the Unified Lines of Battle in Okinawa Be Extended?, an article that appeared in Shukan Kinyobi, July 2, 2004. Kumagai Shinichiro is the editor of the journal Shizen to Ningen (Nature and Humanity). Great journalism that should be quoted more often in the international press, if foreign journalists had the good sense to read Japanese. Global Security provides the U.S. military perspective.
(Map from the Japan Calling website)
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