In a major defeat for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling bloc, former Lower House member Denny Tamaki, a staunch opponent of a central government-backed plan to relocate a U.S. military base, won Okinawa’s governor race Sept. 30 over a candidate backed by the ruling bloc.
The 58-year-old Tamaki, who had the support of all major opposition parties, defeated 54-year-old Atsushi Sakima, a former mayor of Ginowan, which houses U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The Futenma base is supposed to be relocated to an offshore facility in Henoko now under construction on the northern part of the main island.
Tamaki campaigned by pledging to continue former Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s policy of allowing no new military bases in Okinawa.
“Mr. Onaga risked his life to commit to his determination, which is to not allow a new base to be built (in Okinawa). This has spread to people in Okinawa and backed (the campaign),” Tamaki said after the results were announced. (The Japan Times, Kyodo)