Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki at crossroads as support base falters

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki faces a crucial moment ahead of the upcoming gubernatorial elections slated for fall 2022, following a shrinking base of support including both Tories and Elders. reformists.

Monday will mark the third anniversary of his inauguration as governor of the prefecture. He remains unable to stop the central government’s plan to relocate the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to the prefecture, with only one year left before his term ends.

The central government plans to move the Ginowan air base in the coastal district of Henoko to Nago.

“I am well aware of my lack of capacity,” Tamaki said at a press conference on Friday after being asked about the current situation at his fan camp called All Okinawa.

In 2018, Tamaki was first elected governor of Okinawa, succeeding Takeshi Onaga, who died just before the election.

Tamaki called on the central government to withdraw the relocation plan, supported by opposition to the plan expressed by more than 70% of voters in a prefectural referendum.

However, the prefectural government lost a series of lawsuits it brought against the state to block construction works for the relocation.

He remains unable to find an effective way to stop the current landfill work for the relocation.

Meanwhile, conservative members of the prefectural assembly who supported Onaga, a former member of the Liberal Democratic Party, and business owners who were big sponsors have left All of Okinawa.

“The unifying power left by Onaga remained very soon after (Tamaki’s) investiture. It is no longer sufficiently maintained, ”said a source close to Tamaki.

In the prefecture, municipal elections for Nago and Okinawa are expected to take place early next year. They are seen as precursors of the upcoming governorate elections.

Tamaki hopes to win a second term by giving momentum to the movement against the relocation plan in the next election, including the House of Representatives polls this fall and the House of Councilors next summer.

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