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Private survey: Base presence is reason for declining tourism

Date Posted: 2001-12-13

An unofficial survey conducted by a private firm has indicated that the major cause for the recent decline in tourism in Okinawa is believed to be the large number of U.S. bases on the island. Yuimaaru Okinawa, a wholesaler of Okinawan arts and crafts products, sent a multiple-choice questionnaire to its customers, most of whom are associated with the tourism industry, on Nov. 11. A total of 143 companies responded to the survey. According to the results, 59 percent of respondents believe that the large concentration of U.S. military bases on Okinawa has led to a high number of tourist cancellations, while 54 percent expressed doubts about the ability of the bases and tourism to successfully coexist. Although maintaining that the bases should leave Okinawa to enable survival of its tourism industry, many of the companies polled conceded that a pullout of the bases would worsen the employment situation in the short term but suggested that the Okinawan people should be prepared to endure such an eventuality.

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