Backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling coalition, Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima won re-election Sunday night, defeating his opponent in what was seen as a proxy battle between Abe and supporters of a controversial base relocation plan and opponents of the plan, including Okinawa's governor.
Sakima's opponent was Keiichiro Shimura, a 63-year-old former prefectural official who had the support of Gov. Takeshi Onaga and the opposition parties.
At issue was the fate of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which occupies roughly 25 percent of Ginowan. Both candidates agreed the base had to be closed.