19 November 2006

Okinawans Embrace U.S.Military More Than Do Democrats

In a recent election, Okinawans have proven to support the U.S. military more than the Democratic party -- AFP via Yahoo reports.
Japan's southern island chain of Okinawa elected an ally of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as governor, rejecting calls to scale back one of the US military's key overseas deployments.

The election had turned into a referendum on the troops in the subtropical islands, which host three-quarters of the US military facilities in Japan, one of Washington's closest allies.

Voters backed Hirokazu Nakaima, who is supported by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party. He has said he will negotiate with the central government over the troop presence and avoid confrontation.

With all the votes counted, Nakaima had 347,303 votes with challenger Keiko Itokazu, who had campaigned actively against the US troops, receiving 309,985 votes. A pro-independence candidate trailed in third place.

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