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Gubernatorial election to be referendum on Futenma

Date Posted: 2010-11-11

Today marks the official start of the campaign for Okinawa’s governor, a campaign that culminates November 28th with what promises to be a contentious referendum on where to move Futenma Marine Corps Air Station
The controversial airbase now in crowded Ginowan City in central Okinawa is supposed to move to northern Okinawa by 2014 in accordance with a U.S.~Japan agreement made in 2006 and reaffirmed in May of this year. The incumbent governor, Hirokazu Nakaima, is campaigning on a pledge to rid Okinawa of the base, while challenger Yoichi Iha is calling on voters to back his position that Futenma should be moved completely out of Japan, perhaps to Guam.

The second challenger, 46-year-old Tatsuro Kinjo, the acting head of the Happiness Realization Party’s Okinawa prefectural chapter, supports maintaining the Marine Corps air units in Okinawa.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which renewed the commitment to move Futenma to the Henoko district of Nago City, has chosen not to put a candidate on the ballot.

Nakaima is calling the central government’s plan to move Futenma to northern Okinawa “effectively dead”, but concedes earlier government decisions could lead Japan to press forward with the move despite Okinawa opposition.

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