OSAKA — In an election with major implications for Japan-U.S. relations, voters in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, will head to the polls Jan. 24 to either re-elect a mayor who supports relocating the Futenma air base nearby or install a challenger who wants the base out of the prefecture and, preferably, out of Japan.

But while discussion outside Nago, especially among policymakers in Tokyo and Washington, focuses on the geopolitical implications of the election, for the candidates and voters the question is simple: What does hosting, or not hosting, a base mean for the town’s social and economic prosperity?

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