Mr. Onaga’s successor and opponent to Henoko relocation Denny Tamaki wins Okinawa gubernatorial race

September 30, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

The 13th Okinawa gubernatorial election was moved up to September 30 due to the death of former governor Takeshi Onaga.

Denny Tamaki, 58, a former House of Representatives member and independent rookie candidate supported by the Okinawa prefectural government’s ruling party, won this gubernatorial race for the first time. He defeated Atsushi Sakima, 54, a former mayor of Ginowan City and independent rookie candidate supported by the ruling party of the central government, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, Ishin Party, and Kibo Party.

Tamaki pledged to oppose the plan to relocate U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to Henoko, the most significant issue in the election, and he supports Governer Onaga’s revocation of the Henoko land reclamation approval.

This election’s results once again demonstrate the Okinawan people’s opposition to the Henoko relocation.
The central government has been promoting Futenma replacement facility construction with a hardline stance.

All eyes are on the government and its next move.

During his campaign, Tamaki touched on construction of the Futenma replacement facility in Henoko.

He said, “Nago’s citizens cannot be made to bear the suffering caused by the military base, which is currently being shouldered by Ginowan’s citizens. I will do my best to prevent the construction of the new base.”

He added, “The government should keep its promise,” in regard to the five-year period within which the Okinawa prefectural government wants Futenma Air Station closed. The endpoint of this five-year period is next February.

In response to the revocation of land reclamation approval by the prefectural government, he said, “I fully support it. [The prefectural government] revoked it by judging properly based on the Public Water Body Reclamation Act.”

Additionally, Tamaki pledged to aim to realize “a society that does not leave anyone behind,” “free childcare,” “zero waiting children,” “establishment of comprehensive support centers for child-rearing generations in all municipalities,” “assistance maintaining nursery schools and getting non-approved nurseries approved,” and “school lunch cost assistance for non-approved nurseries.”

Tamaki was born on October 13, 1959, at Yonashiro in Uruma City.

His real name is Yasuhiro Tamaki. He was a popular radio personality, but in 2002 as an aspiring politician he was elected to the Okinawa City Council for the first time. He won a seat in the House of Representatives for the first time in 2009, and served for four terms. His family consists of his wife Chieko, two sons, and two daughters.

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