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Okinawa race should focus on plan to relocate U.S. air base

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Official campaigning for the Okinawa gubernatorial election began on Sept. 13 with two leading candidates locked in a fierce political battle to succeed Takeshi Onaga, who died on Aug. 8.

The race is shaping up as a one-on-one fight between Atsushi Sakima, a former mayor of Ginowan who is wholeheartedly backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, and Denny Tamaki, a former Lower House lawmaker supported by the “All Okinawa” movement. The movement is a broad coalition of political parties that united in supporting Onaga in his campaign against the central government’s plan to build a new U.S. military base in the Henoko district of Nago in the prefecture.

Unlike a referendum, a directive on a specific issue or proposal, an election concerns a wide range of issues.

There is a long list of issues that should be addressed during the gubernatorial race in Okinawa, ranging from measures to upgrade the local economy, which is lagging behind the mainland’s economy in many ways, to steps to enhance........

© The Asahi Shimbun