Over 70% of Nago voters against U.S. base relocation: exit polls

More than 70 percent of voters in Sunday's Nago mayoral election expressed opposition to the planned relocation of a U.S. Marine base to the Okinawa city, according to exit polls conducted by Kyodo News.

The polls showed 72.4 percent of 1,204 respondents at 12 voting stations in Nago were opposed, while 14.7 percent supported the transfer of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station to the city, the focus of the mayoral race.

A total of 91.5 percent of those against the relocation said they had voted for Susumu Inamine, the current mayor who has pledged to block the plan.

The expected re-election of Inamine comes after the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried to secure support for pro-relocation challenger Bunshin Suematsu, who was endorsed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, with a financial package to stimulate the local economy.

In the exit polls, however, a total of 59.4 percent said they do not expect much from such financial support.

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima approved Tokyo's application last month for landfill work to build a replacement facility in the Henoko district of Nago to move the Futenma base from Ginowan, also in Okinawa Prefecture.