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Political brouha centers on who should run for mayor

Date Posted: 2005-12-15

Okinawa City officials are scratching their heads trying to figure exactly how to tackle some political issues linked to a mayoral election scheduled for next April.

Current mayor Masakazu Nakasone wants to call it quits and hand the City Hall job over to a new person. The Election Commission seems determined to keep Nakasone, insisting he should run again.

The Liberal Democracy Party, meanwhile, has fielded two candidates for the mayoral position. Tomochio Kuwae and Kenjiro Nishida have been put forth as challengers for the position, but allies from the Koumei Party aren’t pleased. The four Election Commission members do not include any Koumei Party representatives, leading to questions of “Why is our party not included in the Commission.”

Party members are asking “How can we help the Liberal Democracy Party?” They say they don’t want system changes, and point out the LDP needs help if it’s to win in April.

The mayoral election is viewed as important to next November’s gubernatorial election, as challengers square off to replace incumbent governor Keiichi Inamine, who is not running for reelection. Observers say that a broken relationship between the Koumei Party and the LDP will finish off any cooperation and fragment the political process.

Both Kenjiro Nishida and Tomochiyo Kuwae say they want to be mayor, and neither has interest in stepping aside in the interest of party unity. Observers say that if one candidate doesn’t say “I’ll pass,” then the relationship between the Koumei and LDP could be broken or finished.

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