Ruling bloc-backed incumbent wins Okinawa mayoral poll

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Sachio Kuwae and his suppoters celebrate after deciding to win the mayoral election in Okinawa City, Okinawa Prefecture, on Sunday.

OKINAWA (Jiji Press) — A candidate backed by Japan’s ruling camp won Sunday’s mayoral election in a city in Okinawa Prefecture, beating his sole contender supported by the All Okinawa group including Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki and by opposition parties of the country.

Sachio Kuwae, 66, who ran in the mayoral poll in the city of Okinawa in the southernmost Japan prefecture as an independent and backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its Komeito ally, defeated Masakazu Moriyama, 73, a former member of the municipal assembly of the city, securing a third consecutive four-year term.

Moriyama, also an independent candidate, was supported by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, as well as All Okinawa.

Kuwae’s victory provided an additional tailwind to the LDP-Komeito pair in the run-up to the Sept. 11 Okinawa gubernatorial election, in which the ruling coalition will aim to win back the Okinawa prefectural administration. Candidates backed by the ruling bloc won mayoral elections held in three other cities in the prefecture—Nago, Nanjo and Ishigaki—earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the defeat of Moriyama was a further blow to All Okinawa.

Voter turnout in Sunday’s election stood at 45.14%, a record low for any mayoral poll in the city of Okinawa.

In his election campaign, Kuwae emphasized his achievements during his past two terms, successfully attracting support from a wide spectrum of voters.

Moriyama vowed to work in cooperation with the Okinawa prefectural government led by Tamaki, but failed to win the hearts of voters.