Anti-casino Governor’s death to test pro-casino Government candidate
A few days ago, following a specially prepared poll on casinos, Yokohama delivered a strong warning to prospective supporters of IR with gambling, as the majority opposed installation of casinos in the province.
Now is the turn of Okinawa but with a real poll, when electors will have their say in the September 30 gubernatorial elections, owing to Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga’s death. The two candidates are taking opposite policy positions in the casino saga.
In Japan’s political divide, the conservative ruling party is pro casino, whereas liberals and the left are anti-casino. As in the rest of Japan, attitudes on casino legalization in Okinawa are falling along right-left ideological lines.
The late Okinawa Governor was something of an exception, being a lifelong conservative who opposed an IR bid in his prefecture for essentially conservative reasons. The man running as the standard-bearer, anti-military base for the All-Okinawa movement, Denny Tamaki, is following the former governor’s line.
Atsushi Sakima, the conservative candidate backed by the Abe government, takes a much different line on an IR bid: “Research and discussion is needed to explore the idea as a unique tourism resource for Okinawa.”