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Budget from Tokyo down 5.5 percent in next year

Date Posted: 2003-12-25

Okinawa is losing operating funds coming from The Central Government in Tokyo. The budget earmarked for Okinawa for the next fiscal year is down 5.5% over the current year’s funding. The unofficial announcement from the Central Government in Tokyo calls for allocating Y293.1 billion.

Mirroring the national government’s tight fiscal situation, public construction projects and subsidies have been cut. At the same time, the budget contains funds for four new large-scale projects. The largest is the graduate university project in Onna Village. The other three are the Industrial and Environmental Future Research Center, Healthy Diet Improvement project and Tourism Information Internet project.

The budget for the Japan Self Defense Agency that contains all SACO related funds was approved with no cuts. Construction within bases includes housing projects within Camp Kuwae and Camp Zukeran. Another large military related project is the transfer of the so called “elephant cage” antenna complex to Camp Hansen. Funds are also earmarked for preparing for the new replacement facility of MCAS Futenma.

The northern part of Okinawa will be designated a National Heritage Asset Park, and will get a research budget of Y10 million. The employment development within the prefecture will get Y1.1 billion through the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The new national theater in Irijima, Urasoe City will get Y400 million to buy more land, well short of Y900 million the Ministry of Education Okinawa Branch had asked for.

The largest cut is the scrapping of a construction of a new dam in Kunigami Village. The dam construction began 1992, but is now canceled because the government says it’s no longer needed. The new budget will increase the government debt to unprecedented levels. The government has calculated that it brings the debt to Y3.78 million for each Japanese person. Government bonds finance much of the debt, and the interest only on the bonds totals Y8.7 trillion a year or Y23.9 billion a day.

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