Sakima and Tamaki officially announce their candidacies for Okinawa gubernatorial election

September 13, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


The candidates for the 13th Okinawa gubernatorial election were announced September 13.

The election is happening ahead of schedule due to the untimely death of Governor Takeshi Onaga, who died while in office.

So far, four candidates announced their candidacies, but Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, 54, who is running as an Independent but has the support of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Komeito, the Japan Innovation party (JIP), and Congressman Denny Tamaki, 58, also running as an Independent with the support of the coalition in control of the Okinawan government, are the clear front-runners.

Both candidates have acknowledged that despite the number of announced candidacies that the election is a head-to-head matchup. The election is set to take place September 30.


While the biggest issue of the election continues to be whether or not to allow new base construction at Henoko in Nago City, the issues that the two candidates will verbally spar over include how to return the land currently occupied by MCAS Futenma, economic stimulation, child poverty, child-raising support, healthcare, and social welfare.

It is almost universally agreed that the result of this election will have a major impact on the future of the new base construction in Henoko.


At his candidacy announcement rally at Itomine-kaikan in Makishi, Naha, Sakima said, “The day-to-day lives of Okinawans is important. Antagonism and divisiveness will lead to nothing.

Through negotiation [with the central Japanese government] I say the thoughts of Okinawans. I will work to lead Okinawa with harmony in mind.”


Tamaki said at his rally, held in the Tacchu parking lot for Mt. Gusuku in Ie said, “I will continue Governor Onaga’s legacy and prevent the new base at Henoko from being built.

I will make his dying wish clear and fight in this election with all my might.” The other two candidates to announce were Ryukyu cuisine researcher Hatsumi Toguchi, 83, and former IT company employee Shun Kaneshima, 40, both running as independents.


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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