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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 24 - 30  > It’s high time Abe gov’t accepts Okinawans’ firm opposition to Henoko base project
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2019 July 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

It’s high time Abe gov’t accepts Okinawans’ firm opposition to Henoko base project

July 25, 2019

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

In the July 21 House of Councilors election in the Okinawa constituency, “All Okinawa” candidate Takara Tetsumi who opposes the U.S. base construction in Henoko beat his Liberal Democratic Party rival who was backed by the Komei and “Ishin no Kai” parties by a large margin of more than 60,000 votes.

In November 2013, the Abe government and the LDP headquarters pressured Okinawa-elected LDP Dietmembers and the LDP prefectural chapter in Okinawa to abandon their election promise to work to relocate the U.S. Futenma base in Ginowan City to outside the prefecture and instead support a plan to construct a new base in the Henoko district. In the following month, the then Okinawa Governor Nakaima Hirokazu gave in to pressure from Tokyo and approved a plan to reclaim the sea off Henoko in exchange for an increase in state subsidies for Okinawa.

Okinawans have since expressed their united opposition to the Henoko base project through gubernatorial and national elections.

After 2013, a number of elections were held in Okinawa: three House of Councilors elections (July 2013, July 2016, and July 2019), two gubernatorial elections (November 2014 and September 2018), two House of Representatives elections (four electoral districts each in December 2014 and October 2017), and one House of Representatives by-election (April 2019). In all of these elections, except for the Okinawa No.4 constituency in the October 2017 House of Representatives election, anti-base “All Okinawa” candidates defeated pro-base rivals, underlining the triumph of the “All Okinawa” camp.

In addition, in the prefectural referendum in February this year, more than 70% of the voters said “No” to the Henoko landfill work for the new U.S. base construction.

The Henoko base project has reached a deadlock. Soft, unstable ground was found at the planned construction site, which has given rise to a need for difficult ground improvement work. The completion date of the project and the total construction cost has yet to be determined.

The Abe government should immediately give up on the new base construction in accordance with Okinawans’ demand.

Past related articles:
> Anti-base ‘All Okinawa’ candidate beats LDP rival in Lower House by-election [April 22, 2019]
> Mayonnaise sea bottom will lead Henoko base project to dead end [January, 22, 2019]
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