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Okinawan residents upset with Governor Ota

Date Posted: 1998-03-28

How can the governor live in a brand-new home with a luxurious sauna and gorgeous furnishings when Okinawa's residents have been forced to do without much-needed public programs and Prefecture employees are not receiving bonuses? These are questions Governor Masahide Ota has faced after local residents have begun complaining after his new public home was finished and a public exhibition was held to introduce Okinawans to the Governor's new publicly-funded residence.

Governor Ota defended the spending of funds used to build the new home by telling local press what he thinks of the home he will live in until the end of his term. "The sauna is not gorgeous, it is like a regular family's sauna. Of course, when you get home and are tired, it's nice to take a sauna. It's not gorgeous. If I have a good rest and sauna, then I am refreshed and go to work the next day with the full power it takes to give service to all Prefecture citizens. Not even at one time do I think I'm spending the people's tax money, I'm not wasting it, not spending it for my own enjoyment. I always think of Prefecture citizens and am always concerned about the people. I don't think it's gorgeous."

When asked whether or not Okinawa will get back the Ahagawa Training Center, planned to be returned the end of March, the governor replied, "I am not saying that we will not get back the training center. We would like to focus on concerns to make the bases smaller. It may just be made smaller, not all of it given back. We are still in the process."

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