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Technology school to be built in Onna Village

Date Posted: 2003-04-18

Onna Village in northern Okinawa has been selected as home for the new international graduate school on Okinawa. Hiroyuki Hosoda, the state minister in charge of Okinawa affairs, made the announcement.

One of the biggest advantages Onna Village reportedly had over other aspiring municipalities was that the village owns 90 percent of the proposed 280-hectare site for the school, making it easy to secure the property for construction. The other two hopefuls were Itoman City and Kitanakagusuku Village.

"This is a historic day for our community," Onna Village Mayor Fumiyasu Shikiya said. The mayor said he hopes to work closely with the national and prefectural governments to ensure the construction proceeds smoothly.

The new school is scheduled to open in September 2007. The school will be privately run, independent of the Ministry of Education, although the money to establish the institution comes from the state coffers. The graduate school creation is part of a promotion and development plan for Okinawa.

Construction plans call for about 100 hectares of land to be developed at an estimated cost of 6 billion, while the land acquisition cost will run about 3.5 billion. Onna village has offered to lease, free of charge, the portion of the land it owns.

The graduate school plans to be the world's foremost research institute in the fields of life sciences and nanotechnology. The official English language name of the school has not been decided yet. All classes at the school will be taught in English.

Nobel Laureate Jerome Friedman, a professor in physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, heads the international advisory board for the project.

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