LDP, New Komeito name candidates for Naha mayoral election

The LDP Okinawa Chapter held its first meeting of the Naha Mayor Selection Committee, Tuesday.  At the meeting, the committee members presented a list of five possible candidates.

At this point, Masatoshi Onaga, the Prefecture Assembly deputy chairman and vice president of the LDP Okinawa Chapter, is in the front-runner position of the selection committee. At the same time, Junshiro Nishime, a former member of the House of Councilors, also has strong support.  The committee will narrow down the list of candidates during September.

Except for Onaga and Nishime, there are three more candidates, incumbent Deputy Governor Kurayoshi Takara, Kanetoshi Yoseda, a lawyer and former vice governor, and Masaaki Asato, an LDP member who ran in the Upper House election last year.

New Komeito puts strong faith in Onaga, and Onaga matches the criteria to select a candidate for the ‘two-party coalition of the LDP and New Komeito.’  Naha Assembly members and its OBs reportedly favor Nishime.  His performance as a former member of the House of Councilors has been highly evaluated, but on the other hand, many in the committee are concerned about his ability to cultivate the coalition with the New Komeito.

The selection committee is planning to hear comments from a dozen interest groups, Friday, and is scheduled to have a second meeting on Saturday.  The selection committee will report to the New Komeito of Okinawa, and go forward building the coalition structure.