Okinawa Reelects Governor Opposing Heavy US Troop Presence

TOKYO (AP) — Okinawa’s incumbent governor who opposes an ongoing U.S. Marine base relocation compelled by Japan’s central authorities and requires an additional discount of American troops on the southern island secured his reelection on Sunday regardless of considerations of escalating tensions between China and close by Taiwan.

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki, who’s backed by opposition events, was sure to win his second four-year time period, based on exit polls by main Japanese media, together with NHK nationwide tv and Kyodo News company. Polls had been held Sunday earlier than his first four-year time period is to finish later this month.

Tamaki and his supporters declared his victory and celebrated with the chants of “banzai” quickly after the exit ballot outcomes confirmed he beat two contenders — Atsushi Sakima, backed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s governing bloc, and one other opposition-backed candidate Mikio Shimoji. Ultimate vote counts are anticipated early Monday.

Tamaki’s victory may deepen tensions between Okinawa and the central authorities.

The plan to maneuver U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded neighborhood to a much less populated space on the island has already been delayed for years. Okinawans name it a brand new development relatively than a relocation and need the Futenma base closed down and faraway from the island.

“My dedication to resolve the U.S. navy base drawback for the way forward for Okinawa has by no means been shaken,” Tamaki mentioned. He mentioned he’ll proceed his endeavor to convey Okinawan’s will to the central authorities.

Throughout the marketing campaign, Tamaki additionally vowed to do extra to enhance Okinawa’s economic system. Tourism on the semi-tropical island recognized for its corals, marine life and distinctive tradition was badly harm by the pandemic.

Resentment and frustration run deep in Okinawa due to the heavy U.S. presence and Tokyo’s lack of efforts to barter with Washington over the best way to stability the burden of internet hosting U.S. troops between mainland Japan and the southern island group.

Okinawa, the place one of many bloodiest battles within the World Struggle II was fought, was below American occupation till it returned to Japan’s management in 1972. At the moment, a majority of the 50,000 U.S. troops primarily based in Japan below a bilateral safety pact and 70% of U.S. navy amenities are nonetheless in Okinawa, which accounts for less than 0.6% of Japanese land.

Due to the U.S. bases, Okinawa struggled with noise, air pollution, accidents and crime associated to American troops, Tamaki mentioned.

Japan’s authorities has lately shifted the nation’s protection posture to southwestern Japan, Okinawa and its distant islands and is pushing to considerably bolster Japan’s navy functionality and finances over the subsequent 5 to 10 years, citing rising threats from China, North Korea and Russia.

Many in Okinawa are anxious in regards to the rising deployment of Japanese missile defenses and amphibious capabilities on outer islands which are near geopolitical sizzling spots like Taiwan, the self-ruled island that China claims as its personal and has threatened to make use of drive to annex it if needed. Okinawan individuals worry that they would be the first to be embroiled in a battle over Taiwan.

The Futenma base relocation plan developed after the 1995 rape of a Okinawan schoolgirl, by which three U.S. servicemen had been convicted. The case reignited native opposition to the U.S. bases. The relocation has been delayed for years as a consequence of Okinawa’s resistance in addition to environmental and structural points within the Henoko space, the place the brand new base in speculated to be arrange.


Present Full Article

© Copyright 2022 Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.