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2012 Subsidy levels set to support sea, air routes

Date Posted: 2012-02-03

Okinawa Prefecture has made decisions on fiscal 2012 levels of subsidies to support both air and sea routes linking Okinawa’s main and outer islands.

Plans direct budget changes that will cover costs when towns and villages on the outer islands contract a ship operator or build a ship to serve their transportation needs on a lease basis. Aside from that, Okinawa Prefecture officials estimate that expenditures would be roughly ¥4 billion a year. The prefecture plans to take money from the Okinawa Promotion Budget assigned by the central government, in order to cover costs.

Costs will be adjusted as necessary b the Cabinet’s Okinawa Branch Office. About 30% ~ 50% of airfares between Naha and outlying islands will be subsidized. Shipping costs will be subsidized at the same levels as Japan Railroad fares on the mainland, with prices depending on transit distance.

The Planning Office charged with overseeing promotions on outer islands will deal with a decline in the number of residents on outlying island, as well as tourists. It’s estimated isolated islands promotion will require ¥2 billion from the budget. Also in the works are plans to subsidize high school students who visit Okinawa to participate in sports or cultural contests.

Traffic cost subsidies will be basically for isolated islands and have flight or ship connections. A special assessment has been made for Miyako-jima, an island that already has discounted air fares. Okinawa Prefecture officials say the cost deserve level has declined, making it necessary to reserve the subsidy.

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