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Budgets threatened, but cities to increase welfare payments

Date Posted: 2010-03-18

Okinawa’s 11 cities say it is going to be difficult to manage budgets with requirements looming to include livelihood protection recipient payments this year, but says it will do it to protect its citizens.

The cities—Naha, Itoman, Nanjo, Tomigusuku, Urasoe, Ginowan, Uruma, Okinawa, Nago, Miyakojima and Ishigaki—say their expenses are increasing radically, forcing the budget adjustments. Nago City says its costs will increase 44.43% over last year, up to ¥1.57 billion in livelihood protection money only. Nanjo City says its costs are up 22.4%, Ginowan City 18.5% and Urasoe City 16.5% up. Ishigaki City has costs going up 11.4% and Naha City has increased 7.3% with ¥15.4 billion needed for livelihood protection. Okinawa City says it is being affected to the tune of ¥5.75 billion, an increase of more than 10% of its total budget.

The economic recession of the past two years has cause thousands to require livelihood protection payments. The Naha City Office says thousands of people fired from factories in mainland Japan have returned home to Okinawa, adding to the local burden. Only three-quarters of the money needed for payments is coming from the central government, leaving local Okinawa cities to fend for themselves in coming up with enough money to meet needs.

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