Coronavirus Surge Seen Swaying Mayoral Race in Nago


Tokyo/Naha, Okinawa Pref., Jan. 9 (Jiji Press)--The recent spike in novel coronavirus infections is expected to impact the Jan. 23 mayoral election in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan.

Despite the race's importance as the first in a series of major elections in Okinawa this year leading up to the gubernatorial election in autumn, the resurgence has kept officials of national political parties to the sidelines.

Some in the central government fear that the resurgence of infections may also affect the government's plan to relocate a U.S. military base to the city's Henoko coastal area.

The Nago mayoral election is likely to be fought between incumbent Taketoyo Toguchi, 60, supported by the ruling bloc in the national politics, including the Liberal Democratic Party, and Yohei Kishimoto, 49, a city assembly member supported by the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party, as well as by Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki.

Kishimoto, a first-time candidate, is campaigning against the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station from a congested area of Ginowan, Okinawa, to Henoko, while Toguchi has not taken a side and is avoiding the issue altogether.

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Jiji Press