NANJO, Okinawa Prefecture--For the first time in a mayoral election in this prefecture since Takeshi Onaga became governor, a candidate backed by a pro-governor coalition beat a candidate supported by the Liberal Democratic Party.

Chobin Zukeran, 59, supported by the "All Okinawa" coalition, narrowly defeated incumbent Keishun Koja, 62, in the Nanjo mayoral race on Jan. 21. Koja was seeking his fourth four-year term as mayor.

Onaga, who became governor in December 2014, campaigned in support of Zukeran to show their joint stance against the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The outcome could influence the mayoral election in Nago, in which the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, also in the prefecture, to the city's Henoko district is expected to be a key issue.

Onaga and Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine are staunch opponents to the government's relocation plan, demanding the base be moved outside the prefecture. Official campaigning starts Jan. 28.

Zukeran defeated Koja by a razor-thin margin of 65 votes, 11,429 to 11,364. The number of eligible voters in the city stood at 34,328 as of Jan. 21. Voter turnout was 66.92 percent, the lowest ever.

Zukeran, a former Lower House lawmaker of the Democratic Party, called for reform of Koja’s politics.

Koja emphasized his accomplishments of the past 12 years as Nanjo mayor. The LDP sent heavyweight lawmakers, including veteran Lower House member Shigeru Ishiba, to Nanjo to make speeches on his behalf.

However, voter support for Koja did not grow partly because many were critical of an incumbent serving many terms.

Zukeran, who ran as an independent, was backed by the Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Okinawa Social Mass Party.

Koja, who also ran as an independent, was supported not only by the LDP but also by Komeito and Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party).