Takeshi Onaga sure to enter gubernatorial race

Although he has not yet confirmed it officially, Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga is seriously leaning towards the possibility of running for the governor’s post in Okinawa gubernatorial election on Nov. 16.

According to Naha City officials close to the mayor, he is planning to announce his candidacy at a press conference early September. He is also preparing to hand his stance on political hot-button issues to the Gubernatorial Candidate Selection Committee consisting of members of the opposition parties that a week ago decided to support Onaga as their candidate in the election. The LDP members in Naha City Assembly have also said that they would support Onaga instead of the official LDP candidate Governor Nakaima, raising the ire of the party bosses in Tokyo.

Incumbent Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has said earlier that he would run for the third term in the election. The Liberal Democratic Party Okinawa Chapter has already decided to support Nakaima for re-election.

Onaga is the former secretary-general of the LDP Okinawa chapter. He has repeatedly said that he opposes the planned relocation of MCAS Futenma to Camp Schwab in Henoko.

Although Onaga’s opposition to the Henoko transfer plan is the overwhelming focus of the opposition parties’ support for Onaga, they have other agendas that they would like Onaga to embrace, including opposing the presence of Osprey MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft in the prefecture, the reinterpretation of the constitution regarding the right to collective defense, the Secret Information Protection Act that the Abe government recently rammed through the Diet, the opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the planned consumption tax increase to 10% from next April. The opposition parties hope that Onaga would take a position on their side in all those issues.