Former Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga died in 2018, leaving behind an uncertain future for his All Okinawa movement. | THE OKINAWA TIMES

It has been two years since former Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga died on Aug. 8, 2018. His successor, Gov. Denny Tamaki, has made opposition to the construction of a new military base in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, the pillar of his policies, and has continued with the All Okinawa political support base he inherited from Onaga.


But in the June prefectural assembly election, the ruling parties that support the governor’s policies had their number of seats reduced, ending up with nearly the same number of combined seats as the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito as well as smaller parties that have adopted a neutral stance toward the governor.


The All Okinawa group is also having problems fielding a candidate for Okinawa’s No. 4 district in the next Lower House election, and faces a mountain of problems.


With two years to go to the next gubernatorial election, the All Okinawa coalition faces a critical moment.


“If this goes on, Tamaki will be criticized for not taking leadership,” a senior member of the ruling party said after the June prefectural assembly sessions ended.


While the ruling party lost one seat in the election, the opposition and neutral parties camp expanded their total by three seats. The result was a total of 25 assembly seats for the ruling camp and 23 seats for opposition and neutral parties. In addition to the prefectural assembly chair and vice chair, the head and three of the four permanent committees were appointed to LDP members.


“We got the All Okinawa movement by the neck,” said an LDP source. The party is looking to take back the helm in the next gubernatorial election in two years’ time.


Under Onaga, a conservative politician, conservatives, reformers and some members of the local business community all rallied under one policy — opposing the building of a new military base off Henoko — to form the All Okinawa movement.


It was a breakthrough political movement, the first in prefectural political history, and All Okinawa became a major power in Okinawa politics.


After the 2014 governor’s election, the All Okinawa movement’s candidates chalked up 12 victories and only one loss in gubernatorial and national elections, receiving overwhelming support.


However, the All Okinawa movement is now on shaky ground.


For the prefectural assembly elections, the ruling parties could not get behind a unified candidate in Kunigami (on the northern part of the main island), Shimajiri and the Nanjo city districts, resulting in the defeat of a six-term political heavyweight.


In Kunigami, there’s an unpleasant aftertaste following the election.


“If a battle-hardened veteran like Onaga (were at the top), he would have made it work,” says a ruling party member who expressed dissatisfaction with Tamaki’s leadership.


For the next Lower House election, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan hopes to field its first candidate in the Okinawa No. 4 constituency. But so far, negotiations between parties has failed to bear fruit. In Okinawa’s No. 2 electoral district, Social Democratic Party members have been fighting over who will succeed retiring incumbent Kantoku Teruya.


Kunio Arakaki, mayor of Kitanakagusuku village, had been tapped to take over. But the LDP, seeing that some SDP members were not on board with that decision, is also hoping to field its own candidate to gain a seat.


If Arakaki loses, Teruya’s supporters will have failed to protect a seat he has held for 17 years, and that would cause huge damage to the All Okinawa movement.


After Onaga’s death, the head of major hotel chain group Kariyushi Co. announced they were leaving the movement, and there is now friction and dissonance within the All Okinawa organization.


Can the group, which gathered around the philosophy of opposing the construction of a new military base and called for withdrawing the deployment of the MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft, be maintained? Tamaki’s leadership is now being tested.

This section features topics and issues from Okinawa covered by The Okinawa Times, a major newspaper in the prefecture. The original article was published Aug. 8.

【日本語版】 

翁長雄志氏の急逝から2年 正念場の「オール沖縄」 問われる玉城知事の指導力

 翁長雄志前知事が死去して、8日で2年となった。後継として県政を担う玉城デニー知事は、名護市辺野古の新基地建設反対を政策の柱に掲げ、翁長氏が構築した「オール沖縄」勢力を継ぐ。一方、6月の県議選では県政を支える与党が議席を減らし野党中立の議席が伯仲。次期衆院4区を巡り人選が難航するなど課題は山積する。2年後の知事選に向け、「オール沖縄」は正念場を迎えている。

 「このままではリーダー不在との批判が玉城知事を取り巻くだろう」。改選後初の県議会6月定例会を終えた与党幹部は、ため息をついた。

 県議選では与党が1議席を減らす一方、野党中立は3議席を伸ばし、25対23と拮抗(きっこう)する結果に。議長、副議長に加え、4常任委員会中3委員会で委員長を自民が占めた。自民関係者は「オール沖縄の首根っこをつかんだ」と2年後の知事選での県政奪還を狙う。

 「オール沖縄」は、保守政治家の翁長氏の下、辺野古新基地建設反対の理念に保守、革新勢力と経済界の一部が結集した。県政史上、画期的な政治勢力の誕生で、県政の一大勢力となった。2014年の知事選後、知事選と国政選挙の選挙区ではオール沖縄が12勝1敗と圧倒的な支持を得てきた。

 ただ、「オール沖縄」の足元は揺れている。

 県議選では、国頭郡や島尻・南城市区で与党の候補者調整が整わず、当選6回の重鎮が落選。国頭を巡っても与党内に大きなしこりが残っている。与党内からは「百戦錬磨の翁長氏ならまとめ上げられたのではないか」と玉城知事への不満もくすぶる。

 さらに、次期衆院4区の候補者人選を巡っては、立憲民主が初の公認議員誕生に向け候補者擁立を狙うが、各党との意見は整わない。2区でも社民は引退する現職の照屋寛徳氏の後継を巡り一時紛糾。新垣邦男北中城村長の擁立を全会一致で決めたものの、自民は「社民内は一枚岩ではない」とみて議席奪取を目指す。仮に落選すれば03年から6期17年、照屋氏が守ってきた2区の議席を失うことになり、「オール沖縄」には大きな痛手となる。

 翁長氏の死去後、県内ホテル大手のかりゆしグループ(平良朝敬オーナー会長)が離脱するなど、「オール沖縄」の組織内にあつれきや不協和音が生じた。新基地建設反対、オスプレイ配備撤回などを求めた「建白書」の理念に集まった「オール沖縄」を維持できるか。玉城知事の真価が問われる。(政経部・大野亨恭)