Ruling coalition wins landslide; trounced in Okinawa
Japan conducted its election of the upper house of it parliament, the Diet, Sunday, in which half of its 242 seats were for grabs, and the results were an expected landslide for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party – Komeito coalition.
Expect on Okinawa, where the LDP failed to win even one single seat for the first time in 20 years. All eyes in the prefecture were on the race between the incumbent Aiko Shimajiri and former Ginowan Mayor Yoichi Iha. Shimajiri was also the serving Cabinet Minister in charge of Okinawan affairs.
In the election, Iha was backed by Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, and a coalition anti-base activists, the Social Democratic Party and Communists, and even some ex-LDP members who want the Henoko plan stopped and the MCAS Futenma out of the prefecture.
The election concentrated around the dispute over the relocation of MCAS Futenma to Henko, the opposition of which Iha made his practically sole platform. Shimajiri, knowing that she had an uphill battle giving the overwhelming sentient in the prefecture against the relocation, concentrated on her campaign on economic matters stressing her achievements on behalf of Okinawa.
It did not help. In the end, Iha won in a landslide defeating Shimajiri by over 100,000 votes. Shimajiri’s defeat is expected to intensify local opposition to the government’s Henoko plan, and in the prefectural assemble meeting on Monday, Governor Takeshi Onaga reiterated his opposition to the relocation plan.
The U.S. Government was also quick after Shimajiri’s loss became official, to reiterate it’s position that the Henoko plan is the only alternative for the relocation.