Eleven from Okinawa to vie for Diet seats

As the Prime Minister dissolved the Lower House of the Japanese Parliament or Diet, Friday, the public announcement of the elections for the new Lower House will take place a week from now on Dec. 2.

In the four electoral districts in Okinawa, seven of the disbanded Lower House members, three new faces and one former member, a total of eleven candidates are expected to run in the race. The incumbents have been scrambling to open election offices, and calling on their electoral districts as soon as they came back to Okinawa from Tokyo.

In the 1st electoral district, 41-year-old incumbent diet member Konosuke Kokuba representing the Liberal Democratic Party, and 66-year-old incumbent Seiken Akamine of the Communist Party have been preparing for the race.   53-year-old Mikio Shimoji, who recently took part in the Prefecture Gubernatorial Election and who used to be the Minister in Charge of Privatizing the Postal Service, has just decided to run in the race as a Japan Restoration Party-backed candidate.

69-year-old Kantoku Teruya and 49-year-old Masahisa Miyazaki, both incumbents, are running in the 2nd election district.

In the 3rd district, there are three incumbent candidates who are expected to run in the election. They are 56-year-old Natsumi Higa, 55-year-old Denny Tamaki and 53-year-old Tsuyoshi Gibu, who served 12 years as the Mayor of Kin Town from 2002 to 2014.

In the 4th district, 60-year-old Kozaburo Nishime, a former chairman of the LDP Okinawa Chapter, and 77-year-old Toshinobu Nakazato, a former Prefecture Assembly Chairman have declared their candidacy.

66-year-old Shokichi Kina, a former member of the Upper House and a candidate in the recent Okinawa Gubernatorial Election has also indicated a willingness to run in the 1st or 3rd electoral district, although it’s not clear with which party’s backing as he was just expelled from the Democratic Party of Japan before the Gubernatorial Election.