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Nakasone elected Okinawa City Mayor

By: Kari Valtaoja

Date Posted: 1998-05-18

Masakatsu Nakasone upset the incumbent Okinawa City Mayor Shusei Arakawa in the city's mayoral election, Sunday, by garnering 30,960 votes against 20,690 for Arakawa. The third contestant, Yasuo Aguni, got 2,081 votes.

Even though many pundits had predicted that Nakasone would win, the large margin of his win surprised most. Many voters accused Arakawa of bad economic politics that had lead to tax increases. Many were also unhappy about his steadfast stance against the presence of U.S. Military bases here and refusal of any kind of compromise on issues.

Another upset took place in the neighboring Gushikawa City which held its mayoral elections on the same day. There Tsuneo Chinen beat the incumbent Kagemi Nakamoto by a likewise large margin, 108,060 votes against 13,059.

Many also see the results of the two elections as a slap on Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota's face. Both of the failed candidates are staunch supporters of Governor Ota in his fight for the removal of U.S. military bases from the prefecture, and the Governor had expressed his support and endorsement for both. Earlier, in the Nago City mayoral election Tateo Kishimoto beat Yoshikazu Tamaki, a candidate strongly backed by Governor Ota.

In a regular press conference held on Monday, the governor acknowledged the defeat, but insisted that the election results had very little bearing for the upcoming Upper House elections and Okinawa Prefecture gubernatorial election later in the year. "I have to analyze the results very carefully, before making any comments or decision," the Governor said according to various press reports.

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