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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 September 2 - 8  > Okinawa's pro-U.S. base advocates defeated in general election
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2009 September 2 - 8 [ELECTION]

Okinawa's pro-U.S. base advocates defeated in general election

September 5, 2009
All candidates siding with advocates of the plan to build a new U.S. military base in Okinawa lost in all four Okinawa’s single-seat constituencies, and Japanese Communist Party Akamine Seiken calling for a retraction of the plan was re-elected from the proportional representation Kyushu-Okinawa bloc.

Following the last year’s Okinawa Prefectural Assembly election, the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties again suffered a historic defeat, proving that these parties are losing their influence in Okinawa, too.

The LDP and its coalition partner Komei Party had forced Okinawan people to tolerate the heavy burdens of U.S. military bases while promoting the strengthening and perpetuation of these bases in return for measures to stimulate the local economy.

However, the outcome of the general election this time showed that Okinawans will no longer accept further burdens and voted “No!” to the U.S. Futenma air base construction in Okinawa.

“Concerning the construction of a new U.S. base in Okinawa, the new government should reexamine the inadequate environmental impact assessment (EIA) and recognize the illegality of the EIA procedures. The need now is for the new government to stop the construction plan,” said newly-elected Akamine Seiken of the JCP.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, there has been a crucial change in a lobby that exerts much influence over Japan’s military interests, the so-called the Japan-U.S. Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange.

None of the LDP or other conservative candidates representing this organization succeeded in maintaining their Diet seats as a result of the general election.

Those who failed to win were: ex-defense minister Kyuma Akio (LDP), ex-defense agency director general Saito Toshitsugu (LDP), ex-state minister in charge of the wartime legislation Inoue Kiichi (LDP), and Watanuki Tamisuke (People’s New Party). Ex-DA directors general Tamazawa Tomiichiro (LDP) and Kawara Tsutomu are also to retire from the organization.

The Japan-U.S. Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange, headed by Akiyama Naoki (arrested for tax evasion last July) as a go-between for Japan-U.S. military-related industries, annually hosts the Japan-U.S. Security Strategy Conference so that pro-military Dietmembers, including members of the LDP and Democratic Party of Japan who work on behalf of the special interests of the war industry, and business peoples of both Japanese and U.S. arms corporations meet together. In May each year, the organization visits U.S. munitions manufacturers and the Pentagon. - Akahata, September 5, 2009
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