On Februray 24th, 2019, “A prefectural referendum on the relocation of the U.S.
Marine Corps Air Station in Futenma, Ginowan to the Henoko district of Nago”, hereinafter referred to as “Okinawa Referendum 2019”, will be held. Many discussions arose when five mayors stated they would not take part in the referendum due to the decisions made by the city assemblies opposing the budget proposals for the referendum. Amakata, the chairman of the Okinawa Bar Association, on the 9th of January, made a public announcement to firmly request “Okinawa Referendum, 2019” to be held at all municipalities in Okinawa. This newspaper article is of the interview Amakata did with the Okinawa Times.
With the revision to include the third option to the referendum agreed on the 29th of January at the prefectural assembly which allows the voters to choose from “Support”, “Oppose”, and “No opinion either way”, Okinawa Referendum 2019 is certain to be held prefecture-wide. The prefecture-wide referendum, which is the typical mean of direct democracy, holds supreme significance in indirect democratic system we basically implement. While there are nations in the world where this type of privilege is not assumed for people, allowing political motivations to intervene the values of democracy on the island of Okinawa could have caused an international doubts in our cultural and political standard in our country. I express my heartfelt respect for those who exerted themselves on the implementation of the prefecture-wide referendum. Okinawa Referendum 2019, on the 24th of February. This referendum offers the once-in-lifetime opportunity for you to directly voice your opinion as people of Okinawa. Let’s go vote! Koji Kawasaki