Poll shows 74 percent of people oppose relocating U.S. Futenma base within Okinawa

Poll shows 74 percent of people oppose relocating U.S. Futenma base within Okinawa

How to solve the Futenma issue

May 5, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

A telephone poll conducted in late April by the Ryukyu Shimpo showed only 16.6 percent of respondents supported the plan to move the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan to Henoko in Nago. The governments of Japan and the United States promote this plan. They do so despite widespread opposition, confirmed in the recent figures which showed 73.6 percent of respondents were opposed to relocating Futenma within the prefecture. This includes respondents who seek “unconditional closure and removal of the Futenma base.” The poll was conducted at the end of December last year after Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima approved the Henoko landfill after pledging not to allow it to be relocated within the prefecture. Two separate polls showed similar results, further validating the findings. Despite the governor’s approval of the landfill application, the Okinawan people’s opposition to the relocation within the prefecture remains strong.

Asked how to return the Futenma base site to Okinawa and how to solve the relocation issue, the most frequent responses were “The Futenma base should be closed and removed unconditionally”(33.2 percent). This was followed by “relocate the Futenma base outside Japan” (24.0 percent), and “relocate the Futema base to other prefectures” (16.4 percent).

“The Futenma base should be moved to Henoko,” was 16.6 percent and “move Futenma to other places besides Henoko” (6.6 percent). The stance of opposing the current Henoko relocation plan, which the governments are advancing, has reached 80 percent.

Regarding a question on the Senkaku Islands issue, which has worsened Japan-China relations, 70.5 percent of people answered that “Japan should watch the transition take place,” and “should settle this issue through negotiations.”

Only 27.9 percent of people answered that “Japan should keep strong stance.” The majority of Okinawan people seek a peaceful solution and cautious reaction despite the Abe administration’s tough stance on the Senkaku issue. On the other hand, 52.6 percent of the respondents supported the Abe Cabinet while 41.5 percent did not support it.

The method of the poll: On April 26 and 27, Ryukyu Shimpo carried out the opinion poll among voters who live in Okinawa using RDD (random digit dialing) method. The survey was conducted by automated telephone calls to the numbers that were generated randomly by computer. The advantage of RDD dialing is in reaching households with unlisted phone numbers. This method can achieve a high accuracy because the samples reflect the age and gender of the population of registered voters. In the survey, 1,068 households with eligible voters were contacted by phone, of whom 504 responded.

(English translation by T&CT)

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