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Naha City tells Fishery Radio Station Association to vacate

Date Posted: 2002-12-21

Okinawa Prefecture Fishery Radio Station Association occupies an old building in Shuri from where it has kept contact with Okinawa-based fishing vessels as they ply their trade on the oceans. However, the association has fallen on hard economic times and has reportedly no money to pay rent for the facility, nor can they afford to repair the building.

At the same time, Naha City that owns the land and the building plans to create a park in the area and has sent a letter to the association telling it to vacate the premises if they are unable to pay.

The building was constructed on a city-owned piece of land in 1968. The association and Naha City made at that time a 30-year agreement for leasing the facility. That agreement expired four years ago. That was also the time the association stopped paying rent to the city.

The building itself has its roof leaking. It has cracks in its walls and electric wiring is dilapidated. Many say that the facility is in such bad shape that it is no more safe to use.

The association has a plan to move to a new facility in Itoman. They have calculated that to get the new facility up and running, the association needs ¥1 billion. The central government and Okinawa Prefecture have pledged to pay ¥840 million that would come from the Self Defense Agency’s budget, but that still leaves the association ¥160 million short. That is money that the association simply does not have, according to Association Chairman Yoshiaki Yamakawa. “We consider this station vital for the safety of our fishermen,” Yamakawa says.

The association represents 48 fishing vessels and 49 larger ships that are registered in Okinawa. Association members have also tried to devise cheaper ways to communicate using Internet and cellular phones. The problem is, no one with the association knows how to use a computer.

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