Three candidates to run in the gubernatorial election

Three candidates to run in the gubernatorial election

Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga (left), Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima (center) and former state minister Mikio Shimoji (right).

July 24, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On July 23, Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga stated that he would announce during a regular session of the city council slated to be held on September 8 that he will run in the gubernatorial election. The election is to be held on November 16. He will make his declaration when answering a question from the representative of the Shimpu faction of the Liberal Democratic Party in the city council. Meanwhile, on July 23, staff of the incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who is preparing for his announcement in early August, decided he would announce his decision to run for a third time on August 7. Onaga plans to resign from his position as mayor after the regular meeting of the city council at the end of September.

In addition to the request from the Liberal Democratic Party’s Shimpu faction, a voluntary group of business-persons, including the chairman of the Kanehide Group Morimasa Goya and Kariyushi Group CEO Chokei Taira, have expressed their support for a potential bid from Onaga.

Onaga has shown interest in running for the election behind the scenes, but has not yet made public his stance in response to requests for him to run. According to the people involved, he will make clear his decision to run in the September regular session, scheduled to begin on September 2. Later, he will resign from the post of mayor after the session is over.

The supporters’ group of Nakaima, who is affiliated with the prefectural chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party, held a staff meeting on July 23. They confirmed their plan to announce Nakaima’s third run for Governor on August 7. In addition to the prefectural party chapter and supporters’ group staff, representatives from business organizations and municipal leaders that support Nakaima, plan to be present at a press conference with the governor.

Soon after the announcement, Nakaima will report his decision to the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters and the Prime Minister’s residence. After that, he will help support the candidates running for the unified local elections in September. Nakaima will also start the “Association of Citizens of Okinawa” in the middle of August that will serve as a parent organization for his campaign during elections. He will then open his election office and announce his campaign platform .

The prefectural chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party officially stated their backing of Nakaima on July 26. The prefectural chapter’s election preparations, such as deciding to recommend Nakaima as governor and setting up the electoral offices, are progressing. Nakaima has stated that he would make the announcement “before the Bon festival on the lunar calendar (August 8 to August 10).” The prefectural party chapter and his electoral committee finalized the date of the announcement.

According to the Public Office Election Law, if Onaga steps down as mayor at the end of September, a mayoral election must be held within 50 days. Thus the likelihood of a mayoral election on November 16, on the same day as the gubernatorial election, is high.

Former State Minister in Charge of Postal Services Privatization and representative of the Political Group of Okinawa Revolution Mikio Shimoji is also considering a bid for Governor. According to the people involved, he will formally announce that he will do so at the end of July.

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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