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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 27 - March 5  > JCP Akamine: Abe should accept outcome of Okinawa referendum rejecting Henoko base project
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2019 February 27 - March 5 [POLITICS]

JCP Akamine: Abe should accept outcome of Okinawa referendum rejecting Henoko base project

March 1, 2019
Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Akamine Seiken on February 28 at a Diet committee meeting said that in last week’s prefectural referendum, Okinawans expressed their clear opposition to the new U.S. base construction in Henoko. He urged Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to accept the voting result and stop the controversial base project.

PM Abe stressed that the Henoko base construction cannot bear any further delay, while saying, “I will sincerely accept the result.” With this remark, he expressed his fresh determination to push forward with the project in defiance of the referendum results.

Akamine said that the landfill work in Henoko continues unabated as if the prefectural referendum did not take place, adding that riot police officers continue to forcibly remove sit-in protestors and that sand and dirt are being dumped into the reclamation site. He said, “Evidently, the government has no intention to ‘sincerely accept’ the voting outcome. This is totally unacceptable.”

Akamine noted that when anti-Henoko candidates won in the last two gubernatorial elections, the central government refused to acknowledge these victories as Okinawans’ rejection of the Henoko project by insisting that the elections were not solely about the Henoko issue. However, he went on to say, the prefectural referendum was held with the focus on the single issue and there is no room left for doubt about Okinawans’ opposition to the base construction.

In the prefectural referendum over the Henoko reclamation work for the construction of a U.S. base, an overwhelming majority of voters cast “no” ballots. The number of the opposition votes exceeded 434,000, which is nearly 40,000 votes more than what Governor Tamaki received when he defeated a pro-base candidate in the gubernatorial election in September last year.

* * *

Governor Tamaki on February 28 pointed out that the national government five years ago promised Okinawa that the operation of the U.S. Futenma base in Ginowan City would be ended by February 2019. Tamaki criticized Tokyo for clinging to its plan to achieve the closure of the Futenma base by relocating it to Henoko. He said, “If the national government thinks it necessary to put priority to protecting lives and properties of those living near the Futenma base, it should work to close the operation of the base without delay.”

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