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Seven candidates from Okinawa secure seats in Diet

Date Posted: 2003-11-14

Nationwide elections for the House of Representatives returned five veteran lawmakers to the Diet Sunday, while a couple newcomers burst onto the scene. A socialist elected from the 2nd Election District that covers Urasoe and Ginowan Cities, Kantoku Teruya, 58, was first declared winner after the polls closed at 8pm.

Shortly afterward, Kosaburo Nishime, a candidate in the 4th District representing the Liberal Democratic Party, was declared winner. The 49-year-old Nishime is the son of former Okinawa Governor Junji Nishime.

Results in the 1st District (Naha City) and 3rd District (Okinawa City, Gushikawa, Ishikawa and Nago) were clear about at midnight. The winner in the 3rd District was Chiken Kakazu, a Liberal Democrat.

Daiichi Shiraho of Komeito Party won the seat from 1st District Naha, beating incumbent Liberal Democrat Mikio Shimoji. The electoral race in Naha was especially tight as Komeito and Liberal Denmocrats are government coalition partners, and were basically appealing to same voters. In the end, the LDP and its allies threw their support behind Shiraho, forcing Shimoji to run as an independent without official party support.

Three other Okinawa candidates secured seats through national lists. Veteran Liberal Democrat Lawmaker Seiji Nakamura easily kept his seat. Socialist Mitsuko Tomon who lost to Kakazu in the 3rd local district was able to corner enough votes from national lists to secure a seat. Seiken Akamine, representing the Japan Communist Party, also won a seat through national lists.

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