Okinawa poll finds 67.6 percent plan “no” vote in land reclamation referendum, greatly exceeding planned “yes” and “neither” votes

Okinawa poll finds 67.6 percent plan “no” vote in land reclamation referendum, greatly exceeding planned “yes” and “neither” votes

Notification signs for the "Prefectural Referendum" (the photograph does not directly relate to this news article)

February 17, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo


Over February 16 and 17 the Ryukyu Shimpo, the Okinawa Times, and Kyodo News jointly conducted a telephone public opinion poll of voters throughout Okinawa Prefecture.

The poll addressed the prefectural referendum, which will ask Okinawan voters if they vote “yes,” “no,” or “neither yes nor no” to land reclamation in Henoko, Nago City as part of construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF). It has been revealed through this poll that prior to the prefectural referendum, which is to be held on February 24 this year, 67.6 percent of respondents plan to vote “no” to land reclamation, greatly outweighing those who plan to vote “yes” at 15.8 percent, and those who plan to vote “neither” at 13.1 percent.


This poll distinctly demonstrates that Okinawans strongly oppose land reclamation as part of relocation of MCAS Futenma within Okinawa.

The respondents who said that the Japanese government “should respect” the results of the referendum, at 86.3 percent, greatly exceeded those who said “respecting the results is unnecessary” at only 8.8 percent.


A vast majority of the respondents, 94.0 percent all together, answered that concerning the referendum they “sent in absentee ballots or voted early,” “will go,” or “probably will go.”

Alternatively, only 4.9 percent answered that they “won’t go,” or “probably won’t go.” A mere 1.1 percent answered they are “unsure” or did not respond to the question.


However, in a public opinion poll conducted by the Ryukyu Shimpo and other news organizations in December last year, 77.7 percent of respondents selected that they would vote “no” to land reclamation.

Now that the “neither” response has been added to the prefectural referendum, the percent of those planning to vote “no” has decreased to 67.6 percent in this most recent poll.

It is likely there will be an effect on the results due to the addition of the third option on the prefectural referendum.

The majority of those who responded “neither” gave their reason as being because “I cannot say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ with such finality,” at 61.3 percent.

Others who responded “neither” gave the reasons “the issue cannot be resolved by ‘yes’ or ‘no'” at 23.8 percent, and “my opinion does not match with ‘yes’ or ‘no'” at 8.7 percent.

Out of the respondents that said they “support the Abe Cabinet,” 68.3 percent said they think the Japanese government “should respect” the referendum results.

Also, out of those who answered that they support the LDP, 73.3 percent said they think the government “should respect” the results.

In regard to the soil deposits into the ocean in Henoko, Nago City, as part of FRF construction that the Japanese government has started, 72.8 percent of respondents said they “oppose” or “somewhat oppose” these deposits, while only 21.3 percent said they “support” or “somewhat support” them.

When respondents were asked if they support or do not support Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, 79.1 percent answered that they “support” or “somewhat support” him, and 16.8 percent said they “do not support” or “do not quite support” him.


Method for conducting the poll: The poll was conducted over February 16 and 17, targeting voters in Okinawa Prefecture.

It used RDD (random digit dialing), in which a computer randomly generates phone numbers and dials them. An automated voice was used to ask the poll questions.

In total 1,470 phone numbers were dialed and 1,047 people answered the poll, making the response rate 71.2 percent.


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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