Ou Okinawa governor to run for second term

Ou Okinawa governor to run for second term

NAHA Kyodo Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki announced on Saturday that he would be running for a second four-year term, likely facing a challenger backed by the Liberal Democratic Party in the Sept. 11 election.

Tamaki made clear at a news conference that he is opposed to the relocation of a U.S. Marine Corps base within the prefecture, saying construction of a new airfield off the eastern coast is absolutely unacceptable. Political forces in Okinawa opposing Air Station Futenma'sFutenma's relocation to the Henoko coastal area in Nago are expected to be fully behind the 62 year-old's re-election bid.

The LDP has already decided to back former Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, who was defeated by Tamaki in the 2018 election, making the next election likely to be another fight between the two.

The central government and Okinawa government have been locked in a fight over the relocation project after the governor's disapproval in November of a design change made necessary by the discovery of soft ground in the Henoko waters planned for reclamation.

At the news conference, Tamaki said that even the central government can't say when the construction will be completed.

The governor said that the existing project won't lead to the elimination of Futenma's risks that must be done as soon as possible.

The air base is located in a densely populated area, and locals have long decried its presence due to the risks of accidents posed by it.

The recovery of the local economy from the coronaviruses is one of the key issues facing the prefecture, which depends heavily on tourism.

The governor had previously served as a House of Representatives member and was now a member of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan.