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Anti-base mayor runs for Okinawa governor race

Okinawa's Ginowan City Mayor Iha Yoichi at a news conference on August 20 expressed his candidacy for the Okinawa gubernatorial election slated for November, responding to the joint request for him to submit his name for candidacy from the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party Okinawa Chapter, and the Okinawa Social Mass Party.

Iha made an agreement with these three parties that he will promise voters to promptly close the U.S. Futenma base, remove the U.S. Marine Corps, and boost local economies by taking advantage of Okinawa's unique characteristics.

Iha stated, "It will be an important election for us to determine Okinawa's future. In accordance with the rule of democracy, I will show Okinawans' determination to oppose the Japanese and the U.S. governments' attempt to impose another base burden on Okinawa."

Due to Iha's resignation as mayor in order to run for governor, the Ginowan mayoral election will also take place on the same day as the Okinawa gubernatorial election (Nov. 28).

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A former deputy chief cabinet secretary has recently confessed that Cabinet Secretariat's secret funds had been used during the 1998 Okinawa gubernatorial election.

In regards to his testimony, Japanese Communist Party Shiokawa Tetsuya (House of Representatives) was asking, in a written question submitted to the Kan Cabinet on August 8, if the government can promise to not use secret funds to gain an edge in elections and whether or not the use of such funds to support specific candidates is justifiable.

The government on August 20, however, declined to give a clear answer to questions raised on the matter.

- Akahata, August 21, 2010

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