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Central government approves 2 Okinawa development bills

Date Posted: 2012-02-17

The Japanese cabinet has adopted two bills to revise laws intended to promote the development of this southernmost prefecture.

Under one of the bills The prefectural government will be empowered to draw up a 10-year development plan under one of the new bills, based on a basic policy set by the central government. The other bill is designed to promote the use of land formerly occupied by U.S. forces. The central government plans to get both bills through the Diet, or Japanese parliament, by the end of March.

The two bills will replace existing laws that expire at the end of March. The new laws, if approved, will have a 10-year life, starting in April. The central government crafted the bills in consideration of local opinions, a move designed to push for progress in the relocation of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station within the prefecture, a plan that has been stalled due to local opposition. The development promotion bill calls for tax breaks for building logistics bases and promoting industry and tourism in order to help make the prefecture a gateway to other Asian countries. Those tax breaks will be provided to companies operating in newly designated special areas for tourism and logistics industry promotion.

The bill also calls for expanding the scope of preferential treatment to companies in existing special areas for the information technology and financial services sectors.
The other bill seeks to increase payments to the owners of land previously occupied by U.S. forces. It also requires the central government to decontaminate such land if necessary.

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