Okinawa City declines to take part in Henoko referendum
Sachio Kuwae, the mayor of Okinawa City, announced that his city will not take part in the prefecture-wide referendum on Henoko landfill project scheduled for Feb. 24th.
Kuwae said that he made the decision after the city council voted down the participation in the referendum two times. He said that he understands the move of MCAS Futenma from Ginowan to Henoko is the basic point but it’s not right to simplify the question in the referendum to a simple yes-or-no.
Okinawa City is the second largest city in Okinawa Prefecture after Naha, with its over 110,000 voters accounting for about 10% of the total number of eligible voters in the prefecture. Kuvae is the 3rd mayor to announce non-participation. If the prefecture government insists to carry out the referendum, Kuwae said that he would respond to the issue again after discussing the matter further with his legal advisers and office staff.
The Okinawa City Council has 18 members affiliated with the governing Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties and 12 aligned with the opposition. The council rejected the referendum that was included in the city’s draft budget in a regular meeting in December.
According to the Okinawa City Electoral Administration Commission, there are currently 110,497 eligible voters registered in Okinawa City. The petition to hold the referendum was signed by 6,795 persons in the city.