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14 vie for six available seats in coming national election

Date Posted: 2003-10-18

A total of14 people have declared their candidacy for election since Japanís Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the parliament on Oct. 10 and called for new elections on Nov. 9. The 14 vie for six seats allocated for Okinawa. Four are to be elected from the four districts that the prefecture is divided in, while two seats are reserved from national lists.

The first district consists of Naha City and Tokashiki, Zamami, Aguni, Tonaki, Kume and South and North Daito islands. The district has four hopefuls; Noboru Shimajiri, Seiken Akamine, Mikio Shimoji (incumbent) and Daiichi Shiraho. The second district consists of Urasoe and Ginowan cities, Nishihara, Kadena and Chatan towns, and Yomitan, Kitanakagukusu and Nakagusuku villages. Three people vie for the seat from this district; Kantoku Teruya, Tokuo Maemiya and Yoshiji Uehara.

The third district consists largely of the rest of Okinawa main island. Four people have declared their candidacy; Chiken Kakazu, Mitsuko Tomon, Ken Inohara and Konosuke Kokuba. The fourth area consists of communities on Miyako and Yeayama island groups. Three candidates from that district are Hiroshi Kinjo, Takeshi Miyazato and Kosaburo Nishime.

According to the Japanese electoral system, there is also a chance that two candidates from the same district can be elected. If they both have a large number of votes and the one losing the district has more votes than people on the national list, the party can pick him or her to take a seat. Pundits expect such a case to rise from the third district where Liberal Democrat Chiken Kakazu and Socialist Mitsuko Tomon are both very popular.

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