Okinawan progressive movements join together to retake governorship

The Japanese Communist Party and Okinawa's progressive movements are increasing activities to retake Okinawa's governorship in order to achieve a peaceful Okinawa without U.S. military bases.

The Okinawa gubernatorial election campaign officially started on October 31 with elections on November 17, four years after conservative candidate Inamine Keiichi replaced incumbent governor Ota Masahide.

The candidate of the Association for a Progressive Prefectural Government, Arakaki Shigenobu is challenging incumbent Governor Inamine, who is supported by the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komei Party. The Okinawa Social Mass Party and the Social Democratic Party have decided not to join with the JCP and are running Yoshimoto Masanori as their own candidate.

In a speech at the start of his campaign in Naha City, Arakaki said, "Let's achieve a peaceful and rich Okinawa free of U.S. military bases. Let's establish a prefectural government with citizens as the key players and improve living conditions, education, and social welfare services."

Arakaki in particular stressed his opposition to the construction of a new U.S. base which the present prefectural administration is pushing. "I will demand that all U.S. military base sites be returned to Okinawa without condition," he said.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo was in Okinawa to assist in the Arakaki campaign.

In speeches Shii emphasized, "To end Okinawa's suffering, it is essential to remove all bases and scrap the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty."

Noting that a broader section of Okinawans are converging behind Arakaki, Shii stated that this joint struggle will offer a possibility for a new permanent joint struggle to achieve a peaceful Okinawa. (end)