The new mayor had campaigned on a staunch no-base platform, and his election has thrown a curve ball at what the U.S. military thought was a plan set in stone. Now it may take the intervention of the Japanese prime minister to keep the base alive.
"The election in the small city of Nago could force Japan to scrap, or at least significantly modify, a 2006 deal with the United States to build a replacement facility in the city for the busy Futenma United States Marine air station. The base is currently in a crowded part of the southern Japanese island.
The fate of that deal has already become the focus of a growing diplomatic rift between the United States and Japan, its closest Asian ally. The Obama administration has been pushing Japan to honor the deal, but the new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has said he will take until May to decide whether to support it or name a new site for the base."