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    Pro-US Airbase Relocation Mayor Poised for Victory in Okinawa Election

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    Asia & Pacific
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    An advocate of relocating a US military base within Japan's Okinawa prefecture has secured a second term in office as mayor of the densely-populated city of Ginowan, national media cited projections as saying Sunday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – Atsushi Sakima, 51, is projected to defeat his only opponent Keiichiro Shimura, according to the NHK broadcaster.

    National and regional governments have been at odds over the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, whose relocation was agreed on a national level in 2006.

    Current plans envision the Futenma base to be closed by February 2019 and relocated to the Henoko coastal area.

    Over 1.5 million square meters of the coastal maritime belt are expected to be filled as part of the relocation. The local population and Nago municipality officials staunchly oppose the move.

    Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, an outspoken opponent of Futenma's relocation who was elected a year ago, backed Shimura. Sakima is supported by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government.

    Sakima's anticipated reelection is likely to leave the national-regional standoff unchanged, with mutual lawsuits risking to drag out Futenma's relocation.


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