On Nov. 16, Okinawan voters sent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a clear message: Close the U.S. marine air base in Futenma and locate the replacement somewhere outside our prefecture.

Although Tokyo and Washington have agreed to shift Futenma’s functions to a new base at Henoko, located in less populated northern Okinawa, University of Connecticut historian Alexis Dudden says the thumping defeat of the Liberal Democratic Party-backed incumbent Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima “demands a fundamental rethinking of the Henoko project as well as how the U.S. security alliance with Japan should move forward. In clear ways, Washington’s alliance managers must grasp (Takeshi) Onaga’s big win as something of far deeper significance than knee-jerk anti-Americanism.”

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