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Denny Tamaki Wins Okinawa Gubernatorial Election

SNA (Tokyo) — The following stories were reported recently by the Shingetsu News Agency.

Rolling Coverage: Okinawa Elections

—Okinawa gubernatorial election already has about 35% voter turnout because a historical record high number voted early, many of them anticipating the possibility that the typhoon might strike on Election Day. Tomorrow evening the next Okinawa Governor will be known.

—Voter turnout low on Election Day, largely because so many people voted in advance. By 2pm the total combined voter turnout was close to 47%.

—Voter turnout likely to be lower than the 64.1% turnout in 2014 when Takeshi Onaga was elected governor.

—Denny Tamaki declared winner of Okinawa gubernatorial elections!

—The immediate calling of the election is due to exit polls which apparently weren’t even that close in that they revealed.

—One of Governor-elect Denny Tamaki’s campaign calls was “Let’s take back Okinawa from the Japanese and US governments!”

—Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga left his disaster management post three times this past month to personally campaign for Atsushi Sakima, but neither he nor Yuriko Koike nor Shinjiro Koizumi could convince Okinawans.

—Exit polls make clear that about 20% of voters who identify with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and even Komeito voted for Tamaki. However, where Tamaki really shone was among independents, getting about 70%.

—NHK, which had been more cautious than other news organizations, now agrees that Denny Tamaki won the Okinawa gubernatorial race.

—Tamaki himself looks like he didn’t really believe he had won until NHK called it. The banzai moment has come.

—Always charming about Okinawa elections is that after the banzai the winners perform a traditional Okinawan dance. That tells you the place isn’t exactly the same as the rest of Japan.

—This had been a very tough year for the All-Okinawa movement. Susumu Inamine was defeated in the Nago mayoral race, the Abe government kept its hard line, and Governor Takeshi Onaga fell sick and died. Denny Tamaki’s race, however, was the main event, and they have won it.

—The conservative candidate, Masanori Matsukawa, won the Ginowan mayoral race, preventing an All-Okinawa sweep and maintaining the same balance of power as existed before Takeshi Onaga’s death.

Rolling Coverage: Typhoon No. 24

—Kansai International Airport will be closed for the rest of the day due to the arrival of Typhoon No. 24. This is the first major typhoon to hit the area since Typhoon No. 21 massively flooded the airport and stranded its passengers for a couple days.

—Shinkansen and many train services being suspended in the Kansai region due to the arrival of Typhoon No. 24.

—JR East announces that it will shut down all train services in the Tokyo metropolitan region at 8pm today due to the expected impact of Typhoon No. 24.

—Much of the Tokyo region will be shut down by 8pm, so it is very wise to be safe at home by that time. Trains and buses will not be running. Probably taxis will be the only public transportation option after 8. Pro baseball games, etc., have been cancelled.

—Note that power outages are also possible. Okinawa still has about 200,000 homes and buildings with no electricity. Power has been knocked out to about 140,000 more homes and buildings in Kagoshima Prefecture.

—The most intense part of the typhoon expected to be felt in Tokyo around midnight and then tomorrow will be a beautiful blue skies day. It is possible that Tokyo won’t take a direct hit.

—Heavy rains starting to fall in central Tokyo. Estimates are for about 350 millimeters of rainfall in most of the capital region, but it could be higher than that.

—Services on the Tokaido Shinkansen will be entirely suspended within the next 90 minutes. Most other Shinkansen lines to be shut down as well, if they haven’t been already.

—This typhoon may produce wind gusts that break Japanese records in some areas. There is a possibility of 50 meter per second (110 mph) winds in the Tokyo area overnight. Opening and closing doors can be especially dangerous.

—Reported casualties rise to 1 person missing and 71 serious injuries nationally.

—This is the last hour for all JR line trains to run in the Tokyo region.

—JR East confirms that it is planning to run most trains tomorrow morning in the Tokyo region on a normal schedule. Only a few of the earliest morning trains from outlying areas will be suspended.

—Typhoon makes landfall near Tanabe city, Wakayama Prefecture.

—Typhoon has led to the cancellation about almost 1,300 passenger flights nationally.

—JR East will inevitably be facing complaints that it jumped the gun in shutting down the Tokyo train system at 8pm. It is now 10:30pm and the region is so far feeling few effects other than intermittent light rain and small gusts of wind.


—The most direct threat to Shinzo Abe in the coming months is his dream to revise the Constitution, which is not shared by his big business allies. If he uses up too much political capital on his pet Constitution schemes, they may start looking for a new horse to ride.

—House of Representatives lawmaker Manabu Terata has joined the caucus of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan after meeting with Yukio Edano. Terada says the need to fight the Abe regime is urgent.

—Graffiti getting national attention. Shincho publisher’s ad slogan of “Have you read it?” changed to “Have you read the hate book?” It is criticism of Shincho 45’s publication of Mio Sugita’s anti-LGBT prejudice and then decision to defend prejudice in its latest issue.

—Shinchosha Publishing Company announces indefinite suspension of publication of Shincho 45 after editorial decision to defend anti-LGBT discrimination. Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Mio Sugita’s essay and the botched response ended up sinking the entire magazine.

—Rightwingers go nuts as Takashi Uemura becomes president of the company that publishes Shukan Kinyobi. As an Asahi Shinbun journalist, Uemura’s articles about Comfort Women were particularly controversial.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan commits to running at least twenty candidates in next House of Councillors election who are either openly LGBT or people with disabilities. This is meant to reflect the progressive party’s embrace of a diverse, tolerant Japanese society.

—The Abe Cabinet reshuffle to take place on October 2. Yoshihide Suga and Taro Aso will definitely remain in place, according to the latest word.

—Keiichi Ishii tipped to remain as Land Minister in spite of his weak performance in debates in the last Diet session. Komeito decides they want Ishii to continue for now and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is apparently fine with that.

—Abe critic Seiko Noda tipped to be replaced as Minister of Internal Affairs. We will know soon, but it looks like Shinzo Abe planning to sweep all critics out of Cabinet and install flunkeys and supporters only. There’s still time for a surprise however.

—Abe government requesting Komeito to meet and discuss Constitution revision, but so far Komeito is rejecting such talks.

—Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan to run lawyer Michiko Kameishi as a House of Councillors candidate in Osaka. She is being touted as a potential political star for the future.

—Tetsuo Saito replaces Yoshihisa Inoue as the Secretary-General of the Komeito party. This appears to have been done mainly because Inoue is 71 years old and Saito is 66, five years younger. This is what “handing to the young generation” looks like in Japanese politics.

—Natsuo Yamaguchi officially elected to another two-year term as leader of the Komeito party. He has held the position since September 2009.

—One point that’s not sufficiently understood is that the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s first political imperative is to wipe out the other opposition parties to show that they are the only viable alternative, and only then to seriously contest the Liberal Democratic Party for power in the 2020s.

—Continuing to show its innovative nature, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan holding its “festival,” a casual-style talk show, to mark the anniversary of the progressive party’s foundation and to explain its policies to the public. This party keeps demonstrating an evolution missing in its rivals.


—US President Donald Trump claims that Japan doesn’t contribute enough to the US-Japan Alliance. In this case, he’s echoing the mantra of the US Establishment which has made the same argument ad nauseam since 1990.

—One thing we haven’t seen in mainstream commentary is the likelihood that US President Donald Trump’s insistence that a “Red Wave” is coming is just a prelude to his future claims, after the 2018 Midterm Elections, that Democratic victories were based on massive voter fraud.

—Conservation groups and Okinawa residents appeal the adverse August verdict in San Francisco in order to prevent the construction of the US Marine airbase at Henoko.

—Philippines, Myanmar, Russia, Turkey: Abe diplomacy shows a distinct tendency to ignore or downplay the human rights records of other nations. Of course, that’s hardly surprising when he seems unenthusiastic about democratic checks-and-balances at home in Japan as well.

—Shinzo Abe in his UN speech: “In order to resolve the abductions issue, I am also ready to break the barrier of mutual distrust with North Korea, start afresh, and meet face-to-face with Chairman Kim Jong-Un.”

—US President Donald Trump on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un: “He wrote me beautiful letters. And they’re great letters. We fell in love.” Thus Trump proves again that flattery will get you everywhere with a narcissist like him. Just say you worship him, and he loves you.

—Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad: “If Japan revises its Constitution and allows itself to go to war then I think we are making a very regressive step.” So just as Shinzo Abe reaches for his lifetime dream of destroying Article Nine, the leader of another Asian country cites it as an important model for the whole world and further states, “We are thinking about following Japan’s current Constitution.”

—South Korea asks Japan not to use the Rising Sun flag at joint naval events because it is closely associated in many people’s minds with Japanese Imperialism of the wartime era. The Abe government refuses, claiming that they are legally obliged to do so.

—Asahi Shinbun nails it on Abe’s North Korea policy: “Neighboring countries are fully aware that Tokyo has no peace plan of its own and is apt to change its stance depending on Washington’s attitude. That is the primary factor in Japan’s lackluster presence.”

—Aung San Suu Kyi expected to visit Japan next month, including a tour in Fukushima Prefecture.


—China says that Donald Trump has launched “the largest trade war in economic history” with a third round of punishing tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing to retaliate. Collectively, Trump tariffs against China now apply to over US$250 billion of Chinese goods, which is more than half of what China exports to the United States. In return, Beijing has so far retaliated with tariffs against US$110 billion in US goods. Talks have broken down.

—The anti-nuclear movement suffers another blow as the Hiroshima High Court reverses its injunction against the restart of the Ikata No. 3 nuclear reactor.

—Shinzo Abe buckles and suddenly agrees to talks with the United States toward a bilateral trade agreement, reversing his stance up to this point. Probably Abe’s team became intimidated by the trade war Trump launched against China and want to stay off Trump’s hit list.

—Sankei Shinbun nutcases argue that a financial crisis in China brought on by trade war would be good: “That may shake the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party’s financial economic system. However, it would not be bad for Japan and the rest of Asia.”

—Right now US$1.00 = 113.69 Yen.


—Cryptocurrency firm Tech Bureau in the doghouse with regulators. Even before the recent theft, they had received two warnings from the Financial Services Agency over a lack of security measures. Now they have been slapped with a third warning.

—JAXA releases photos from the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft that were taken by the rovers that have landed on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. As for that asteroid, it might be a nice to visit, but you sure wouldn’t want to live there!

—Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, herself a former Environment Minister, may take the lead nationally in replacing plastic straws with paper straws to help reduce plastic waste. An experiment now beginning at Tokyo Metropolitan Government headquarters’ coffee shops.


—Former Yokozuna Takanohana submits application to retire from the Japan Sumo Association.

—In what must be classed a pretty smart move, Tokyo Medical University appoints its first female president, Yukiko Hayashi, after the embarrassing revelation that they long had an appalling policy of secretly lowering the scores of female applicants for admission.

—Times Higher Education World University Rankings suggest that Japanese universities are starting to become more competitive after years of stagnation. University of Tokyo now put at No. 42 ranking in the world, still quite low for the world’s No. 3 economy.

—Nintendo has apparently won a lawsuit against the operators of the MariCar business for allowing its participants, mostly foreign tourists, to dress up in Nintendo-like costumes as they go-kart around Tokyo.

—Osaka High Court overturns lower court ruling so to to allow for the government to discriminate against Korean schools in terms of public funding. The basis for the judgement is the “suspicion” that the school is under “unjust control.”

—Kumamoto City Council kicked out member Yuka Ogata from a plenary session for the offense of having a cough drop in her mouth while speaking. She is the same councilwoman who gained global attention last year for bringing her newborn baby to a council meeting.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between September 24 and September 29.

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