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  • 2019.11.11 Monday
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  • by スポンサードリンク


The Okinawan Prefectural Referendum

 On February 14th, Okinawan Governor Denny Tamaki announce that Okinawa would hold a prefectural referendum on the 24th concerning the relocation of the U.S. air base to the Henoko area of Nago City. The result of the referendum is not legally binding. However, I believe that the Abe Cabinet should pay much attention to the citizens’ voices.                                                                                    In Japan, a national referendum has never been held, but local referendums are conducted on rare occasions. In 1996, Okinawa held a prefectural referendum demanding to shrink the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, and in the following year, Nago City carried out a municipal referendum opposing moving in the U.S. air base there. Despite the results, the Japanese national government decided in 1999 that the U.S. air base would relocate within Okinawa, from the Futenma area to the Henoko area.                                                                                     Initially, Okinawa Pref. and Nago City accepted the decision on the condition that the air base would be constructed off the coast of Henoko and with its use limited to 15 years. Due to negotiations with the U.S., the Japanese government had to relocate the construction site to the coast.                                                                                    In 2014, Takeshi Onaga, who was opposed to the air-base relocation, was elected as Okinawan governor, and revoked the construction permit in the following year. The Japanese government sued the Okinawan prefectural government in court, and won in 2016. Onaga passed away in 2018, and Denny Tamaki, diehard opponent of the base relocation, was elected with a historically high number of votes at over 390,000.                                                                                      Okinawan citizens of 18 years old or older can vote in the prefectural referendum. The number of potential voting is 1,156,295. They must choose from 3 options on the air-base relocation: approve, disapprove, and no opinion. According to the Prefectural Voting Regulation, when one choice amounts to a quarter of all the electorate, the governor will report the result to both the Japanese and U.S. governments. Opponents of base relocation are aiming at this target, which equals some 289,000 votes. In my opinion, the voting rate must surpass 50%. If not, it means that the majority are not interested in the issue.                                                                                    The result will be known on the 24th of February or the following day. I hope that the Abe Cabinet won’t blatantly ignore the Okinawans’ voice. Also, if the voting rate doesn't surpass 50% or the votes opposing reach the 25% mark, the activist should accept the reality of air-base relocation.


  • 2019.11.11 Monday
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  • 20:38
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  • by スポンサードリンク


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