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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 November 20 - 26  > Okinawa’s LDP lawmakers cancel promises to oppose US base construction
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2013 November 20 - 26 [OKINAWA]

Okinawa’s LDP lawmakers cancel promises to oppose US base construction

November 26, 2013
Okinawa’s five parliamentarians of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party announced on November 25 that they will accept a plan to relocate the U.S. Futenma base to another location within Okinawa, despite their election promises to oppose the plan.

Tokyo and Washington are aiming to “relocate” the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station currently in Ginowan City to the Henoko district in Nago City, but they face strong opposition from local residents. A recent opinion poll shows that about 80% of all Okinawans are opposed to the construction project.

Under pressure from local residents, the LDP Okinawa prefectural chapter had argued that the base should be moved to a location outside Okinawa, in defiance of the party headquarters’ policies.

Of the five lawmakers, four (Kokuba Konosuke, Miyazaki Masahisa, Higa Natsumi, and Nishime Kosaburo) were elected to the House of Representatives in December 2012 with campaign pledges to work to remove the base from the prefecture. Shimajiri Aiko was also elected to the House of Councilors in 2010 with a similar promise.

LDP Chief Secretary Ishiba Shigeru met the five earlier in the day, requesting them to agree to the relocation project. They then abruptly changed their position.

Nago City Mayor Inamine Susumu told reporters that those Dietmembers’ betrayal is “totally unacceptable”.

Minema Shin’ichi, a secretary of the Okinawa Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions, said, “Lawmakers who broke their promises to voters should resign immediately. We will continue to work to organize a broader coalition against the LDP turning its back on the local demand.”
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