Editorial: It would be hasty to say that the LDP victory in the 3rd district is a sign of sympathy for progressing with new base construction

November 1, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


Public opinion surrounding the new base construction in Henoko, Nago – part of the relocation of MCAS Futenma – is wavering. The winning candidates in the 1st and 2nd Okinawa districts for the lower house are from the “All Okinawa” party, who oppose the base construction, while the winners in the 3rd and 4th districts are Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) candidates who support the construction.

However, it would be hasty to say that the LDP victory in the 3rd district is a sign of sympathy for progressing with base construction. Rather, more urgent issues such as coronavirus and economic measures took precedent in this year’s lower house election, and the new base construction issue did not rise to the main battleground issue.

For next year’s Nago mayoral election, upper house election, and gubernatorial election, the LDP is looking to ride the momentum of their tail winds, while All Okinawa is compelled to review their organization.

In the four years since the previous lower house election, a new aspect of the base construction issue has arisen. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Denny Tamaki, an opponent of base construction, was elected. Soft ground was found under the water being filled for the base, and the Japanese government decided to start land filling in December of 2018, regardless of a goal to complete construction. In 2019, a referendum was held regarding the land filling in Henoko, which resulted in a 72% vote in opposition.

In response to the Japanese government unyielding stance, which entirely ignored the will of the people, the judiciary delivered a harsh opinion. In a lawsuit where the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) demanded that an order approving the relocation of coral by the prefectural government be overturned as illegal, the Supreme Court of Japan voted 2 to 3 in favor of Okinawa. One of the justices said in their opinion, “They focused only on the levee protection construction project,” in their argument, and that they had “fallen into the trap of not seeing the forest for the trees.”

Furthermore, it became clear that there was a plan to use soil from the south of Okinawa, where part of the Battle of Okinawa took place, for land filling at Henoko. The issue of using soil that contains human remains from the battle is a humanitarian issue, and asks people to confront the Battle of Okinawa. The government must listen to the voices of the Okinawan people.

The lower house election is an important election in selecting the governing administration. The current Kishida administration has almost no achievements since its inauguration, the focal point became an evaluation of the nearly nine-year-long “strongman” Abe-Suga administration. Starting with the coronavirus policies, issues included the Kake Gakuen scandal, the cherry blossom social gathering scandal, the money politics scandal, and the veto of the appointments of six people to the Science Council of Japan.

The LDP was able to win a safe majority on their own. This definitely secures a safe spot for the ruling coalition of the LPD and Komeito. The Japan Innovation Party is quickly making progress as the third party, and with 2/3 of the seats being held by LDP, Komeito, Japan Innovation, and independents who support the ruling party, there is overwhelming support for a potential revision of the constitution. The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is falling behind.

Problems for Japan are piling up with issues such as eliminating inequity, climate change, declining population, restoring public finance health, foreign diplomacy and security, and constitutional issues. The “strongman” administration thinks little of the role of the Diet. If the Diet loses its function, it will only invite more of the already existing “yes-man” politics. The elected candidates should treat the administration as just one of the top functions of the government, and take to heart their important responsibility.

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

Go to Japanese 


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]