Okinawa marks 43rd anniversary of reversion to Japan
May 15th marked the 43rd anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to the Japanese administration in 1972.
According to published figures, the Japanese ventral government has spent a total ¥11.5 trillion (about $100 billion) on budgets earmarked for Okinawa since the reversion. At the same time, the number of tourists per year visiting the islands has increased 16-fold.
However, the income per capita still remains the lowest in the nation, standing at just over ¥2 million as of fiscal 2010.
A debate is currently going on whether the reason for the poor performance is over-relying on handouts from Tokyo, or is the concentration of U.S. Military bases in the prefecture impeding the development.
According to increasing number of experts, the booming success of former U.S. military base areas, such as Omoromachi in Naha, Mihama American Village area and the most recent Awase Golf Course area, is an undeniable proof that the base land, once developed commercially, yields much better return than payments from base land leases bring, and hold the key to Okinawa’s future economic success.