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Iju victory in Okinawa is most effective way of resolving Futenma base issue

The major issue in the Okinawa constituency in the upcoming House of Councilors election is which candidate is capable of steadfastly opposing the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station within Okinawa and representing Okinawan peoplefs consensus on the removal of the base in the national Diet.

58-year-old physician Iju Tadayuki, as a candidate backed by progressive, democratic organizations, individuals, and the Japanese Communist Party, is appealing to Okinawan voters for their support, saying, gWhy do we have to find a site and construct a new U.S. base with our tax money? By increasing our demand for the unconditional removal of the Futenma base, letfs achieve a base-free Okianwa and Japan.h

Iju takes the following three political positions: stick to the position calling for the unconditional removal of the Futenma base and opposing the relocation of the base in Okinawa; not side with any power or any party that takes a stand for the relocation of the base in Okinawa; and seek a base-free peaceful Okinawa without the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in the future.

The other two candidates, a female Liberal Democratic Party incumbent lawmaker and a candidate supported by the Social Democratic and Okinawa Social Mass parties, also expressed their opposition to the transfer of the base within the prefecture and criticized the recent Japan-U.S. agreement concluded by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government. However, they are unable to offer either a concrete plan or visible prospects to resolve the base issue.

Although the LDP candidatefs position contradicts the LDP head office position which sticks to the plan to construct a new base within Okinawa, at the opening of her campaign office in Nago City on June 21, she shook hands with former city mayor and LDP city assembly members who accepted the base relocation to Henoko in Nago City.

Because of the conflict with the DPJ headquarters, which intends to push ahead with the relocation of the base within Okinawa, the DPJ prefectural association was unable to field a candidate.

When the SDP-backed candidate announced his candidacy for the House of Councilors election, he expressed his willingness to cooperate with the DPJ by saying, gI hope that I will receive support from the DPJ prefectural association.h

If a candidate who invites support from a power or a political party that takes a stand for the relocation of the base in Okinawa wins the election, such a person can do nothing to oppose the Futenma base relocation issue in the Diet.

- Akahata, June 23, 2010

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