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New Okinawa Development Legislation drafted

Date Posted: 2001-08-30

The Cabinet Office finished compiling a draft, Thursday, which will form the basis of the new law supporting the Okinawa development plan scheduled to start next year.

The new law clarifies the area of industries earmarked for further development, making good use of the natural advantages that Okinawa has, such as tourism and the IT industries. It aims at building up an independent economy that mainly relies on private institutions. It also includes measures to cope with the future usage of the land previously used by the U.S. military.

At the same time, the new draft contains all the elements of the current law that stipulate the extra funds Okinawa receives for its development projects, and special measures benefiting isolated islands. In summary, the new law adds even more special measures to develop Okinawa further as the new law takes effect early next year.

On Thursday, The Cabinet Office, Okinawa Section, also publicized a rough estimate of the budget request for Okinawa for the next fiscal year. The estimate totals 357.7 billion marking a 2.5 percent increase from the current fiscal year, despite the government's decision to reduce annual overall expenditures by the largest margin ever.

The budget request reflects the trend to steer government budget money to software aspects of the development instead of government funded infrastructure construction projects. 49 such new projects, including a high tech graduate school were named. However, the budget for government construction projects stays the same as this year, and still forms the majority of the planned spending, 82 percent of all.

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