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Tokyo asks for 5.9% increase for Okinawa

Date Posted: 2011-10-09

Japanís Cabinet Office is asking the Diet for • 243,719 million in budget appropriations for development programs in Okinawa Prefecture for fiscal 2012, up 5.9 pct from the previous year's initial budget.

The request for the year beginning next April means the second straight year of growth in budget allocations for Okinawa development. The request features establishment of central government grants to the island prefecture with no strings attached, a form of money allocation demanded by Okinawa. The budget request suggests that the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda intends to emphasize that it is putting a high priority on Okinawa, in hopes of making progress on the stalled plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air station in the prefecture.

Despite the increase, budget request still falls short of the demands of Okinawa, which wants •300 billion in budget appropriations for development programs, all in the form of free-to-use grants. The Cabinet Office has asked for the new grants without setting a specific figure, saying that details should be determined during the budget compilation process.

The budget request also includes •5 billion for industrial promotion and other development in northern Okinawa and •1.2 billion for air transport subsidies for residents of isolated islands. In addition, the request includes the introduction of preferential tax treatment to spur investment in Okinawa's tourism industry

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