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Worldwide Uchinanchu Business Association Holds 4th Conference in Naha

By: Jena Maddalino

Date Posted: 2000-07-01

The 4th Worldwide Uchinanchu Business Association (WUB) international conference was held last week in Naha. This year's conference, "Moving Forward with WUB to the 21st Century", united members from South America, North America, Asia and Hawaii. Workshops, lectures and a Business fair were a part of the week long event to help expand and strengthen WUB members' economic power and international reach.

While past conference sights included Honolulu, Los Angeles and Brazil, this year WUB members choose Okinawa for the conference sight. "It was decided to hold the conference in Okinawa as a pre-event to the G-8 Summit to promote international opportunities and potential for Okinawa…since it is an international conference with the same elements as the G-8 Summit, " said founding member Dr. Robert Nakasone, President of Hawaiian Uchinanchu Business Group.

The WUB originated as a private non-profit organization and the association had its first conference in Honolulu, Hawaii in September of 1997. Creating a worldwide business network of Uchinanchu (Okinawan) and "Uchinanchu at heart business people" to exchange information and business opportunities is this organizations ultimate goal, and through this, they hope to strengthen the economic opportunities for their members. Presently the organization has chapters in North America, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Hawaii, Tokyo, Kansai, Okinawa, Hong Kong and Guam

WUB member companies vary in size and business type; small, medium and large sized companies as well as top-ranked companies are a part of the network. Okinawa's top businesses are part of the local chapter; the President of the Okinawa Chapter is Mr. Morimasa Goya, President of Kanehide Holding Co., Ltd. And the Vice-Presidents are Mr. Akira Makiya, President of Ryukyu Shimpo Developing Co., Ltd., and Mr. Shimei Nakaoji. The WUB also hosts a website WUB, which features information about the association as well its membership.

On Thursday and Friday, the WUB hosted an International Exchange and Promotion Business fair that was open to the public. Okinawan products - from Awamori to Aloe Vera - were displayed at informational booths to expose business to the unique Okinawan market. Exporting health products will most likely provide a strong business opportunity for some local companies as Okinawa is slated to host a Longevity Conference this year in November (Okinawa has the longest life expectancy in the world). Other local businesses were represented as well, including multi-media and communications companies, offering a solid exchange of business concepts and paving the way for a more International Okinawa.

Because the Okinawan economy relies heavily on outside funds, both from the US Military and the Central Government, economic growth is key to self-reliance for the Prefecture. Until markets are opened up outside Okinawa, and the local products are exported to other countries, the economy will most likely remain stagnant, says Michael Oshiro, owner of Ameku Enterprises. " The WUB provides contacts and networking opportuniteis to Okinawa, uniting the people that have ties to Okinawa. We can utilize this network to springboard into markets worldwide," Oshiro told Japan Update.

It is also the hope of the association that the youth of Okinawa and other participating countries will realize their own potential. "[We want] to give the younger people broader business opportunities by exposing them to international business for the global business world," said Nakasone.

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