LDP Loses 1st of Series of Okinawa Polls in Blow to Suga Govt

Politics

Miyakojima, Okinawa Pref., Jan. 18 (Jiji Press)--A candidate supported by Japan’s ruling party has lost to an opposition-backed rival in the first of a series of mayoral elections in Okinawa Prefecture, in a blow to the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the run-up to next year’s Okinawa gubernatorial election.

In the mayoral poll in the city of Miyakojima in the southernmost Japan prefecture on Sunday, Kazuyuki Zakimi, 71, an independent supported by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, defeated incumbent Mayor Toshihiko Shimoji, 75, who also ran as an independent candidate and was backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito.

Zakimi, set to become Miyakojima mayor for the first time, was also backed by the so-called All Okinawa camp, which supports Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, a staunch opponent of the Japanese government’s plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma air base in the Okinawa city of Ginowan to the Henoko coastal district in the city of Nago, also Okinawa.

While mayoral elections are scheduled in two more cities in Okinawa later this year, in Urasoe in February and in Uruma in April, both also regarded as precursors to the upcoming governor race, the election loss in Miyakojima is believed to have hit hard the Suga administration, which aims to have an LDP-backed candidate win the 2021 gubernatorial election to recapture the Okinawa prefectural administration from Tamaki.

Voter turnout in the Miyakojima mayoral election came to 65.64 pct.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press