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Okinawa gears up for House elections

Date Posted: 2009-07-16

Fifteen Okinawa politicians are assembling their campaign staffs to wage battle for House of Representative seats up for grabs in an August 30th election.

The snap elections were announced as Japan’s Prime Minister, Taro Aso, dissolved the current House of Representatives, sending ripples of excitement through the headquarters of the main political parties who all want to change the dynamics of Okinawa’s political scene. Okinawa is divided into four election districts, and each is preparing platforms to appeal to differing constituencies.

In the First Election District, four candidates are vying for the office. It could be a clash of words and ideologies as Mikio Shimoji of the People’s New Party, Konosuke Kokuba of the Liberal Democratic Party, Hisako Hokama of the Communist Party and Seiki Taira of the Kofuku Jitsugento, the newly-formed Happy Satisfaction Party square off.

Kantoku Teryua of the Democratic Socialist Party leads the pack in the Second Election District, which has a proportional representation candidate. Also seeking the seat are Osamu Ashitomi of the LDP and Noboru Tomikawa of Kofuku Jitsugento.

The Third Election District promises some fireworks from the five candidates, largely because the controversial Futenma Marine Corps Air Station is in the district. The pro’s and con’s of relocating the airfield are sure to trigger strong words and exchanges between Chiken Kakazu of the LDP, Shusei Arakawa of the Socialist Party, Denny Tamaki of the Democratic Party of Japan, independent candidate Jun Odo and Tatsuo Kinjo of the Happy Satisfaction Party.

A head-to-head battle is expected in the Fourth Election District, where the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party will lock horns. Kosaburo Nishime of the LDP and Nagatoshi Zukeran of the Democratic Party of Japan are expected the make most of the headlines, overshadowing a third candidate, Mitsuya Tomikawa of the Happy Satisfaction Party.

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