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Incumbents keep their posts in three elections

Date Posted: 2002-04-22

Three Okinawan municipalities, Okinawa City, Gushikawa City and Haebaru Town, held mayoral elections over the weekend. Incumbent conservative mayors prevailed in all three contests. Okinawa City mayoral race was considered to be the most important of these elections. In the election, incumbent Masakatsu Nakasone faced leftist party backed Teruko Kuwae. Okinawa City being the prefecture’s second largest city made the election very important for the conservative Liberal Democratic Party and their allies, as Kuwae was seen to mount a very credible challenge to Nakasone. A sign of the importance that the conservative forces placed on the election, was the active stumping that Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine did in order to support Nakasone’s bid for the second term. A stunning loss that a conservative candidate seeking for a second term in the office suffered two weeks earlier in Kin Town mayoral election gave the conservative camp extra jitters.

In the end, Nakasone won quite handsomely gaining 27,418 votes agains Kuwae’s 22,930. The participation of the electorate was the lowest on record with only 57.2 percent of eligible voters casting the ballot. The participation was even lower in Gushikawa City where incumbent conservative Tsuneo Chinen easily defeated leftist-backed Norio Maemiya for his second term in the office. 54.3 percent of the voters used their right to vote in Gushikawa City. The third election was held in Haebaru Town. There conservative mayor Toshiyasu Shiroma defeated leftist backed Isamu Akamine. 70.3 percent of voters cast their ballot in Haebaru.

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