Polls show growing nationwide opposition to Henoko relocation
May 4, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
Opinion polls recently conducted by national newspapers in Japan have shown that a growing segment of the population in mainland Japan is critical of the government’s attitude toward the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago. The proposal is already highly unpopular in Okinawa Prefecture which hosts the base.
In a poll conducted in mid-April by the Asahi Shimbun, 55% of respondents said they “do not approve of “the way the government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been handling the relocation issue, compared with 25% who said they “approve of” it. The Mainichi Shimbun, which asked respondents whether they approve of the manner in which the government has been carrying out the project, showed 53% were “against” it, compared with 34% who were “for” it.
In a poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun conducted over a three-day period through April 5 when Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga held his first official meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the percentages of those who said they “approve of” the government’s handling of the issue and of those who “do not approve of it” were both 41%.
A poll also conducted over a three-day period by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun through April 17, the day when Onaga met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, showed that 47% believe that the government “should review” the current relocation plan, compared with 36% who said the government should go ahead with it as it is.
A poll by the Sankei Shimbun conducted late April showed that 44.7% were “against” the relocation to Henoko, compared with 39.9% who were “for” it.
It is believed that criticisms of the government’s attitude, and of the relocation itself, have been gaining ground across Japan, due partly to news coverage of Onaga’s meeting with Abe. At that meeting Onaga explained to the prime minister the reasons why Okinawa Prefecture is opposed to the base’s relocation to Henoko.
(English translation by T&CT and Miwa Murphy)
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