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Naha City budget deficit for fiscal 2004 Y2.4 billion

Date Posted: 2004-02-19

Naha City Mayor Takashi Onaga announced Monday that the city’s budget would be Y2.4 billion in red for the fiscal 2004, despite cuts in spending totaling Y1.08 billion or 1.1 percent of the budget compared to the current fiscal year.

The main reason for the deficit is the shrinking amount of subsidies from the central government. Onaga said that when he made an inquiry, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had told him that the because of its own fiscal problems the central government was forced to cut subsidies to local governments across the board, and Naha City was no exception.

For possible savings in local budgets the central government had suggested three possible targets. One, the municipal subsidies for nursery schools and kindergartens could be cut as the number of children born in Japan declines. Second, as senior citizens in Japan are generally well off, subsidies for their health insurance could be reduced, and third, payments for childrearing from the state coffers were cut off and left for each individual municipality to pay as they could.

However, Onaga said that because Okinawa has more children than other parts in Japan, he’s decided against those guidelines and instead frozen public construction projects in order to free money for nursery schools and kindergartens. He also said that he had decided to set an example and cut the pay of the three top municipal city officials, including himself, by 10 to 25 percent. He also said that he would seek pay cuts affecting all civil servants and city workers.

The subsidy that Naha City is getting from the central government for the fiscal 2004 is Y18 billion that is 3.4 percent less than fiscal 2003.

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