Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged again on Monday to take the necessary steps to move a key US base to Okinawa despite opponent Denny Tamaki winning a second term as governor of the prefecture a day earlier. southernmost in Japan.
Kishida said he was ready to impress upon the local people the importance of moving the transfer of the United States Marine Corps Air Base, Futenma, a senior ruling party official told reporters, who is discussed with the Prime Minister.
Liberal Democratic Party election chief Hiroshi Moriyama also quoted Kishida as saying his government would continue to move forward with the relocation plan, an agreement reached by Tokyo and Washington in 1996.
Earlier in the day, Tamaki reiterated his campaign promise to halt construction of a new US military facility in Okinawa, underscoring the deep rift between the central government and the prefecture over the plan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference that the relocation plan was the “only solution” to ease the burden on Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of US bases in Japan, adding that the central government would not budge on its position. Meanwhile, opposition-backed Tamaki told reporters a day after winning his second four-year term: “It is an undeniable fact that I was elected by the people who oppose” the relocation plan, which means that “the true feelings of Okinawans have not changed”. .”
Tamaki secured more than half of the votes cast in Sunday’s gubernatorial election, beating former Ginowan rival mayor Atsushi Sakima, who was backed by Kishida’s ruling LDP coalition and his partner Junior Komeito.
Tamaki received 339,767 votes, or 50.8%, while Sakima garnered 274,844, or 41.1%, and former lawmaker Mikio Shimoji won 53,677, or 8.0%, according to the data. official.
Sakima ran on a platform to move forward with the relocation of United States Marine Corps Futenma Air Base from the densely populated area of Ginowan City to the coastal area of Henoko in Nago.
The central government has long argued that the handover plan can both provide deterrence as part of the longstanding Japanese-American security alliance, seen as particularly vital amid China’s rise, while eliminating the dangers posed by the Futenma base.
Tamaki has long said that Okinawa bears an unreasonable burden of hosting about 70% of all US military installations in Japan. The prefecture was returned to Japan from American control half a century ago.
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