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Asato wins Ginowan mayoral election by very slim margin

Date Posted: 2010-12-02

Fewer than 2,000 votes separated the two men seeking to be Ginowan City’s new mayor, and staunch anti-base candidate Takeshi Asato wound up on the upper end of the nip-and-tuck election Sunday.

Asato, a 58-year-old former deputy mayor of Ginowan City, was supported by the Japan Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Okinawa Social Mass Party, amassing 23,598 votes to opponent Osamu Ashitomi’s 21,742. Asato’s campaign against the base relocation fared better than former mayor Yoichi Iha’s did; Iha lost to incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who campaigned more on economic issues than opposition to the bases. Asato is firmly committed to opposing any Futenma relocation anywhere in Okinawa Prefecture.

His 44-year-old challenger, Osamu Ashitomi, followed the path Nakaima did, talking about “realistic approaches” to solving the base issue, while at the same time promoting Ginowan’s economic development. Asato’s win surprised some because he was the lesser known candidate, but his linkage with Iha gave him added momentum.

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