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Zamami bucks trend with 3% population increase

Date Posted: 2002-01-10

Going against a trend of decreasing and aging populations on Okinawa痴 outer islands, the population of Zamami Island has been steadily growing. Zamami Village registered a 3 percent increase, the highest of all local governments in Okinawa. Since the advent of the fast ferry from Naha in 1991, the population has been increasing in conjunction with a surge of tourists. Some islanders have returned as a result of the tourism boom, while a number of visitors to the island were so entranced with it that they married Zamami residents or simply decided to settle there on their own. Out of 51 households with children attending Zamami elementary and junior high schools, only five families had parents who both grew up on the island. Moreover, lines of communications between islanders and outsiders have reportedly been well maintained, with each receiving positive feedback from the other. However, problems still exist in that students leave home for high school on the main island of Okinawa; in some cases entire families depart the island with their children.

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