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Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Katsuya Okada will start a two-day trip to Okinawa on Sunday for talks with local officials about the contentious Futenma air base issue.

Okada, the No. 2 man in the ruling party, said at a news conference Thursday that he is scheduled to meet with Ginowan Mayor Takeshi Asato during the visit, which will precede the opening of the Diet.

As someone not in the Cabinet, Okada said he has more leeway in holding candid discussions and listening to the sentiments of Okinawa’s residents.

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