15:00-16:00 Monday, July 29, 2013
Keiko Itokazu, Member of the House of Councillors
Not in Okinawa: The ruling coalition may have just swept up a House of Councillors majority across the nation, posting victories in all but two single-member districts. But in the crucial islands of Japan's southwest, which the government says face a threat from China, they picked up no seats at all.
Instead, the left-leaning incumbent Keiko Itokazu, backed by her own Okinawa Social Mass Party as well as the Japan Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the People's Life Party, and the now-defunct Green Wind Party, handily dispatched her ruling party challenger. The results demonstrate once again the Okinawan people's annoyance with having their firmly held views about U.S. military operations on their island dismissed by conservatives in Tokyo.
Keiko Itokazu has been elected three times to the House of Councillors, and once made a bid for the office of Okinawa Governor as well. She made her start as a bus tour-guide, explaining the importance of peace for her people, and rose to become one of Okinawa's most prominent politicians.
Come to the FCCJ and hear Keiko Itokazu explain why Okinawa continues to march to a different drummer, and what can be done to narrow the gap between Japan's 47th prefecture and the rest of the nation.