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Politics

China-Taiwan tensions place security at center of Okinawa election

Incumbent opposes Tokyo's U.S. base policy, but sentiment is shifting

Landfill operations are underway in the Henoko area of the U.S. Marine Camp Schwab in Nago, in Okinawa Prefecture.    © Reuters

NAHA/TOKYO -- The heightened tensions surrounding Taiwan loom large over nearby Okinawa's gubernatorial election, now just a month away, with the debate over U.S. bases in the prefecture taking on new urgency. 

The race follows an upper house election last month that saw the opposition-backed candidate squeak through with a narrow margin. Japan's ruling coalition, which wants to advance the relocation of a U.S. base, may have an opportunity to break through amid growing security worries, but the three-way race could end up splitting its base of potential voters.

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