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Okinawa Children’s Land may close

Date Posted: 1999-01-01

Okinawa Kodomono Kuni, or Children’s Land, in Okinawa is reportedly facing serious financial problems that could lead to its closing. Decreasing numbers of visitors is the main reason for the problems. The number has dropped from 500,000 to 300,000 a year, and at the same time, subsidies from the prefecture have been cut year-by-year. The prefecture subsidy is scheduled to disappear altogether by the year 2001.

The biggest supporter for the facility is Okinawa City which has its own financial difficulties. The zoo has requested Okinawa City to double its subsidy from this fiscal year in order to make badly needed structural repairs and maintenance. The zoo’s debts have reportedly reached ¥300 million and servicing the debt has become increasingly difficult.

According to officials, 80% of visitors come from outside Okinawa City. With that in mind, city officials feel that the prefecture should increase its subsidy instead of eliminating it.

Zoo Director Choko Kinjo says that "The situation is beyond our ability to help ourselves. If the situation is left to itself, the zoo will be forced to close its doors. That would be a tragic end for everyone."

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