JCP seeks to secure extra seats in Okinawa's local assemblies

In Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture heavily burdened with a massive U.S. military presence, voters will go to the polls on September 8 to elect local assembly members.

The Japanese Communist Party is seeking to get all its 40 candidates (in 27 cities, towns, and villages) elected and achieve an increase of five.

On September 1, at the official start of a one-week campaign, JCP Secretariat Head Ichida Tadaoshi was in Okinawa to join JCP candidates in a street campaign.

Referring to the fact that Okinawa Prefecture has the highest unemployment rate and that the largest number of people who are in arrears with the National Health Insurance premiums, Ichida emphasized that a major JCP advance is essential for protecting residents from undemocratic policies.

Ichida also said that this year's elections are crucial for "securing a peaceful Okinawa without U.S. military bases and a truly independent Japan in the 21st century."

Noting that more than 88 percent of Okinawa's municipalities are opposed to the Koizumi Cabinet's proposal for contingency legislation, or are demanding careful discussions, Ichida said only the JCP, which is consistent in opposing war and calling for the defense of peace, independence and sovereignty, can meet the "hearts and minds of Okinawans."

Okinawa's administrative rights were returned to Japan from the United States 30 years ago, but 1.3 million Okinawans are still deprived of peace. The United States now uses Okinawa as a forward deployment base in its antiterrorism war. The Japanese and U.S. governments are pushing ahead with the construction of a state-of-the-art U.S. air base in the sea off Nago City. Okinawans are constantly disturbed by U.S. military personnel's crimes and incidents, including robbery, traffic accidents, and illegal possessions of drugs or guns. (end)