On Okinawa Governor Tamaki Dennyfs reelection
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
September 12, 2022
Okinawa Prefectural Governor Tamaki Denny won his second term in the September 11 election. We express our respect and gratitude to members of the Okinawa Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions (Okinawa Kenroren) and all our friends around the country for doing their utmost in response to the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)’s call for the victory.
Governor Tamaki campaigned by firmly standing for the call for US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to be shut down and removed, opposing the construction of a new military base on the coastal area of the Henoko district of Nago City. During the election campaign, he emphasized that his administration has implemented 98 percent of the pledges he promised. The Tamaki administration launched prefectural initiatives to extend the free health care (which has been provided to preschool boys and girls) to children up to junior high school students, provide an additional employment adjustment subsidy, and create the tourism promotion fund. He also called for capitalizing on the advent of a new era to make Okinawa worthy of pride and prosperous and make a society where no one is left behind.
By contrast, the challenger, who was recommended by the Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties, overtly declared his acceptance of the planned construction of the new US base. Another “No” verdict was handed onto the government’s failure to pay attention to people’s opposition to the base construction. The government has forced through the construction work in disregard of the soft ground issue and the failed transplanting of corals, thus destroying local autonomy and democracy, while dealing heavy blow to Governor Tamaki’s administration and people’s well-being by cutting the central government budget to help Okinawa’s economic development.
Governor Tamaki’s reelection was nothing less than the prefectural people’s rejection of the repeated argument of Prime Minister Kishida’s government that “relocation (of the functions of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma) to Henoko is the only viable solution (to the problem of Futenma)”. Calling the economic downturn in Okinawa a “crisis of Okinawans” even though it was caused by the spread of the coronavirus, which was worsened by the do-nothing policy of the central government, the LDP-Komeito-backed candidate clearly accepted the construction of the new US base. But the result was that prefectural people’s determination to stop such new base construction was firm enough to beat him. Governor Tamaki’s reelection is also an answer to the growing call for “deterrent” in connection with the war of aggression in Ukraine. The voters also entrusted another term of Governor Tamaki with Okinawa’s economic reconstruction. This outcome is very significant.
US military presence is the biggest obstacle to Okinawa’s economic development. Prime Minister Kishida’s government should accept the result of the gubernatorial election in Okinawa, give up on the construction of a new US base in Henoko, return the site of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma as soon as possible. We also demand that the government negotiate the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement with the United States.
Okinawa Roren is committed to supporting the Okinawa prefectural administration led by Governor Tamaki Denny. It makes clear that it will step up the movement toward strengthening the public contract ordinance. Zenroren is determined to work closely with Okinawa Kenroren to further increase efforts to stop the new base construction at Henoko, end poverty and economic inequality, and win a wage increase for workers.