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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 February 13 - 19  > JCP scores one-two finish in Urasoe City assembly election
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2013 February 13 - 19 TOP3 [JCP]

JCP scores one-two finish in Urasoe City assembly election

February 13, 2013
In Okinawa’s Urasoe City Assembly election on February 10, the Japanese Communist Party made a one-two finish with record-high support while the fixed number of assembly seats was decreased by 3 from 30.

In the election in which 35 candidates contested 27 assembly seats, 30-year-old JCP candidate Irei Yuki got the largest number of votes at 3,124 followed by JCP incumbent Nishime Ken, 31, who received 3,088 votes.

The total number of votes cast for the two JCP candidates reached a record-high of 6,212, up by 1,823 votes (141%) from the previous election in 2008. The JCP increased its share of votes by 3.52 percentage point to 12.08 percent.

The Liberal Democratic and the Democratic parties were unable to put up their own candidates for the election. The Social Democratic Party failed to maintain its only seat in the assembly. The Komei and the Political Local Party of Okinawa experienced a decrease in the number of votes for them.

Top vote winner Irei, who is the mother of a five-year-old girl, joined the JCP in November 2012.

During the election campaign, citing her experience of having her daughter put on a waiting list to enter a child-care center, she appealed to voters, saying, “The average age of Urasoe citizens is 38, indicating that the city has many child-rearing families. I will work hard to build more child-care centers in order to reduce the number of children on waiting lists.” This attracted many voters.

Urasoe City is located next to Ginowan City which hosts the U.S. Futenma base. Debate over the base was one of the key issues in the election campaign.

Since October 2012 when the forcible deployment of U.S. MV22 Osprey aircraft to the Futenma base was implemented, the aircraft have often flown at low altitudes over the city. Furthermore, the city has been pushed to accept the Japan-U.S. agreement on the construction of a new U.S. military port in exchange for the return of the Naha Military Port.

During the assembly election campaign, only the JCP expressed opposition to the construction plan.

Higa Aiko, who will retire as an assemblyperson after finishing her fifth term, said, “Here in Urasoe, nearly 60% of its residents at the time died in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. Voters supported the JCP’s stance to refuse military bases connecting the city to wars.”

In the Urasoe City mayoral election which was held on the same day, a candidate who expressed his opposition to the construction of a military port just before the election campaign kicked off beat his two rivals, the incumbent mayor and a candidate backed by the LDP, the DPJ, Komei, and the SDP.
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