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In the Oct. 7 Cabinet reshuffle, Aiko Shimajiri, an Upper House lawmaker elected from the prefecture, was tasked with the key portfolio of minister in charge of Okinawa issues. But in a Wednesday interview, she avoided discussing the top issue facing Tokyo and Okinawa: the controversial relocation of a U.S. base.

During an interview with The Japan Times and other media outlets, the minister avoided discussing the controversial plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from central Okinawa to the northern part of the prefecture.

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