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Ota to decide on re-election bid

Date Posted: 1998-06-13

Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota pledged to make up his mind by next week on whether to run for re-election in the Okinawa gubernatorial election scheduled for November.

"I think I have to decide by the middle of this month," Ota told reporters at a regular press conference. Ota's decision will be watched closely both by governments in Tokyo and Washington, because his opposition to the proposed construction of the floating heliport off Henoko has become a major obstacle to implementing the agreements of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) seeking to reduce the U.S. Military presence in Okinawa. the construction of the heliport is the condition for returning the MCAS Futenma within five to seven years.

Many in Okinawa have become disillusioned with Ota because they see his steadfast opposition to the project hurting the local economy, already in bad trouble with record unemployment.

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