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LDP Okinawa chapter toys with socialist candidate for governor

By: Kari Valtaoja

Date Posted: 1998-03-27

With the Okinawa gubernatorial election scheduled for November this year, the Okianwa Liberal Democratic Associations' Union floated an idea at their meeting, Friday, to invite Kosuke Uehara, a member of the House of Representatives, to become their candidate challenging the incumbent Masahide Ota.

The punchline is that Uehara represents socialists and was elected to the House with the backing of Okinawa's socialist parties.

Sources near the Liberal Democratic Party, Okinawa Chapter, say that the idea was born out of despair. The party has no viable candidate among their own ranks, and they think that by backing Uehara, they might be able to wield some influence in local political matters.

For his part, Uehara has not commented, except by expressing his astonishment for the idea. "It has never occurred to me to take part to gubernatorial election as I have been busy with my job in the House of Representatives," he said in an interview with a local newspaper. Uehara's backers immediately refused the proposal outright, reportedly angering Uehara who is said to want at least to study the proposal. Governor Ota also refused to comment.

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