(Накаима последовательно выступал за вывод войск США с острова)
Voters on the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa re-elected a governor on Sunday who campaigned for the removal of an American Marine base there, throwing a wrench into a deal between Japan and the
Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, 71, had once supported the plan to transfer the base to a less populated part of
While his position was less strident than that of his main opponent, who called for the base to be removed from Japan altogether, Mr. Nakaima’s re-election still presents an obstacle to the Japanese-American agreement: any relocation of the base in
Prime Minister Naoto
But Okinawa residents have long complained about the American presence, saying it has brought increased crime, pollution and noise to the islands that make up the Okinawa Prefecture, about
In 2006, the
Mr. Nakaima has urged the central government to distribute the American bases more evenly across the country, and his opposition to the deal appears to have helped his showing on Sunday.
“Okinawa hosts American troops not for itself, but for the whole of
His main opponent, Yoichi Iha, the former mayor of Ginowan, where Futenma is located, had gone even further, calling for the base to be transferred out of
Though Mr. Nakaima is more moderate, his re-election nevertheless promises to deepen the paralysis in the efforts to resolve the issue.
The government called the election results “one manifestation of public opinion in Okinawa,” Tetsuro Fukuyama, the government’s deputy spokesman, said in
The controversy over the Futenma base has become a thorn in the Japanese-American alliance, and a headache for the Obama administration, as it struggles to bolster its presence in the region and keep a North Korean provocation from escalating into regional war.
Underscoring the role of that alliance, the main American military response to the North’s attack was to send the aircraft carrier George Washington to the Yellow Sea from its home port in
The ship began joint naval exercises with
Futenma’s relocation is part of a wider agreement that also involves moving more than 8,000 Marines off Okinawa to the Pacific