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Lack of money no more problem for Okinawa

Date Posted: 1999-01-01

The next fiscal year’s budget from the general government to Okinawa sees an increase of four percent over the current budget. The budget talks were concluded Dec. 25.

The Okinawa Development Agency was earmarked with ¥328 billion to spend on the prefecture’s projects. The increase in Okinawa’s share of the budget was larger than any other prefecture which is seen as a sign of warming relations between Okinawa and the central government in Tokyo. the relations had been in deep freeze for some time because of previous administration’s refusal to accept a compromise on base issues. The increase is also a big help to the new governor Keiichi Inamine, who favors a constructive partnership with Tokyo on base and economic issues.

ODA Directer Kichio Inoue agrees. "We need to make efforts for the development of Okinawa by the government as a whole, since it is inseparable from solving base issues."

As a first aid of sorts, Okinawa Prefecture Government received 10 billion to spend as it pleases. Granting the discretionary budget is said to have been the decision of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. Sources explain the reasoning being success on Okinawan issues will enhance Obuchi’s administration. The central government expects Governor Inamine to move quickly in negotiating an alternative to MCAS Futenma within the prefecture.

The unveiled budget plans put an emphasis on the development of the northern part of the Okinawa main island.

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