Kina refuses to quit governor race even if booted from party

Former Upper House lawmaker and well-known Okinawan musician Shokichi Kina is stead-fast in his determination to run for Okinawa governor’s seat despite the Democratic Party of Japan Headquarters’ threat to expel him from the party.

The DPJ’s local Okinawa chapter is also at odds with the party regarding the gubernatorial election, and first asked Kina to run and then has thrown its support behind him. Kina stepped down as the head of the DPJ Okinawa chapter, Friday.

The bosses of the largest opposition party are not amused, and decided Friday to boot Kina from the party after he refused a repeated order to withdraw from the race.

“Even if I get expelled, I won’t budge from my position to run in the race,” Kina insisted on Friday. An LPD Executive Board meeting is expected to formally approve Kina’s expulsion on Tuesday. “Kina has caused confusion among the people of Okinawa, and hurt public confidence in the party,” DPJ Secretary General Yukio Edano told reporters last week in Tokyo.

The DPJ supports the plan to move the MCAS Futenma to the new base in Henoko, and told Kina to drop his campaign against the relocation, or leave the party. Kina refused to do either.

The former head of DPJ and then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama made a promise to move the MCAS Futenma outside the prefecture, but had to backpedal disappointing many local people and destroying any party prospects of success on Okinawa for the foreseeable future. Hatoyama had ultimately to resign his Prime Minister’s post.