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Governor forms new promotion committee; regrets “Marlin”

Date Posted: 2000-02-12

In conjunction of announcing the establishment of Okinawa Northern Area Development Promotion Council that is tasked with coordinating and promoting measures for the economic development of the northern part of the island, Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine, at his regular press conference, announced that the prefecture will form its own committee for this purpose.

According to the plan, the committee will start its work as a part of the Prefecture Planning Division but its status will be promoted to that of an independent division from April. He also announced the selection of Akira Uehara as the director of the new division.

Inamine said that since he decided on Henoko as the new site for the heliport to replace MCAS Futenma, the central government in Tokyo established its own task force for the economic development project and the new division within the Prefectural government will be responsible to look after and implement measures locally.

At the same press conference, Governor Inamine admitted that the prefecture had been overconfident in joining the now failed third sector venture of the “Marlin” jetfoil route between Naha and Ie Island. The prefecture and eight northern municipalities who had been financially backing the venture came to conclusion that it would be impossible to turn the venture profitable. “We were overoptimistic from the beginning and thought that more people would use the boat. Now we have no other option than close it.” He said that outside consultants who had been hired to do an assessment had come to the same conclusion. Lately Marlin has been running with about 20 percent of its passenger capacity occupied.

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