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Okinawa opinions differ on new Prime Minister

Date Posted: 2007-10-05

Japan’s new prime minister is being heralded as ‘a reliable man’ by the Okinawa Liberal Democratic Party, but other political parties don’t quite agree.

Yasuo Fukuda, who assumed the Prime Minister mantel last week following the surprise resignation of Shinzo Abe, was chosen by his colleagues in the national Liberal Democratic Party. Okinawa’s LDP leadership calls Fukuda “a man who knows Okinawa very well”, and cites his understanding about problems dealing with the U.S. military. They predict Fukuda will “show strong leadership.”

Okinawa’s Communist Party thinks the opposite, declaring peoples’ needs will not be met as the right become more powerful and construction of new American bases takes precedence. The Communists note Fukuda is already saying he’ll continue many current government policies. “We’ll fight with the new prime minister, face to face,” the party says, “and we’ll struggle for our victory.”

Socialist Party leaders are non-committal about Fukuda, pointing out his election was a foregone conclusion within the LDP. Socialist Party leadership predicts there’ll be little evident change in Japanese policy.

The Komeito Party is giving Fukuda advice, telling him to “listen to opinions of the general public and save the country from having a turbulent government.” Komeito Party members say they’ll square off with the new prime minister to promote jobs for young people, reduce the financial inequities between classes of people, and enhance life for everyone.

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