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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Okinawa on Tuesday and Wednesday to stump for his ruling party's upper house election candidates in the southernmost prefecture, where public antipathy has grown toward the government's U.S. base relocation plan and U.S. aircraft deployment, party sources said Saturday.
On Tuesday, Abe will give speeches on the main island of Okinawa and attend a meeting for a candidate to be held in Ginowan, which hosts the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, the sources said.
Okinawa is among the constituencies where LDP candidates are thought to be facing a tough challenge in the July 21 House of Councillors election. It has been picked for stumping by LDP executives in the party's campaign strategy.
Antipathy toward U.S. bases has risen in Okinawa since the deployment in October last year of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft, which has a history of crashes, at the Futenma base. Additional Ospreys will be deployed at the base as early as next month.
Despite local opposition, Abe's government is also pushing for the Futenma base to be relocated within Okinawa to Nago, sticking to a bilateral agreement between the United States and Japan.
On Wednesday, Abe is considering visiting the islands of Ishigaki and Miyako where he will stress his government's commitment to protecting remote islands in the wake of China's growing assertiveness at sea, including near the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the prefecture, claimed by China, they said.
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