Japan ruling party candidate loses Okinawa poll, setback for U.S. base move

November 16, 2014 11:37 AM

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Japan ruling party candidate loses Okinawa poll, setback for U.S. base move

TOKYO (Reuters) - A candidate backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party was soundly defeated in a key local election on Sunday, Kyodo news agency reported, in a blow to plans to relocate a controversial U.S. air base on Okinawa island, home to the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan.

Delays in relocating the U.S. Marines' Futenma air base in Okinawa have long been an irritant in U.S.-Japan relations. Abe is keen to make progress on the project as he seeks tighter ties with Washington in the face of an assertive China.

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