June 12, 2012
The Japanese Communist Party’s achievement in securing its five seats in the Okinawa prefectural assembly election, which was held on June 10, is a clear indication of the public trust the party gained through its people-oriented policies.
Since the last election in 2008 when the JCP increased its seats from three to five, it has played a crucial role in developing the opposition to the construction of a new U.S. base into a strong consensus of Okinawan people.
Immediately after the last election, the prefectural assembly approved by majority vote a resolution opposing the relocation of the U.S. Futenma base in Ginowan City to another part of Okinawa. In February 2010, it adopted a similar resolution unanimously. Then in April of the same year, a rally took place in Okinawa in protest against the base construction in the Henoko district of Nago City with 90,000 people participating.
Pushed by the mounting local resistance, no candidate in the latest election called for the relocation of the Futenma base within Okinawa.
Regarding the election results, a local paper in its editorial on June 11 said, “Opposition to the relocation of the base to Henoko continues to be the stance of the prefectural assembly. The possibility of continuing with the relocation plan has completely disappeared.” It added, “The relocation scenario proposed by the Cabinet, the Defense Ministry, and the Foreign Ministry has now collapsed.”
The JCP is the only party in the prefectural assembly that has consistently opposed the privatization and tuition hike of the only public nursing school in Okinawa. Last year, the assembly finally adopted a proposal that the JCP made at every assembly session to provide free medical services for children under 15 years old.
Concerning the central government’s plan to raise the consumption tax, Ryukyu Shimpo stated in its editorial on June 11, “More than 80% of elected assembly members are opposed to a consumption tax increase. The result gives a severe verdict to the Noda Cabinet’s proposed unified reform of the social welfare and tax systems.”