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Wealthy cough up record taxes as economy looks up

Date Posted: 2004-05-20

Okinawan high-income earners coughed up record sums paying their taxes for last years earnings.

According to numbers released by Okinawa Taxation Bureau on Monday, 378 people in Okinawa paid more than ¥10 million in taxes. The number is 6.7% higher than previous year countering national trend that saw the number of people paying more than ¥10 million dropping nationwide.
The top taxpayer in Okinawa was Yuji Takahashi who owns resort hotels and golf courses on Yaeyama and Miyako islands. He paid a total of ¥379 million in taxes.

Takahashi has been number one in Okinawa for four consecutive years. Nationwide he is listed on the 53rd place. Takahashi is the principal owner of Unimat Group that is currently constructing a controversial new resort on Iriomote Island.

Okinawan entertainers and musicians have had their share of big successes for last few years, and that success earned Mongol 800 group vocalist Kiyosaku Uezu the 11th position on the prefecture’s top taxpayer list. He coughed up ¥49 million.

Other businesses that enjoy the current “Okinawa boom” that rages throughout Japan are the island’s awamori brewers. Top among them was Kiyohara Tamanaha, the president and owner of Tamanaha Shuzo whose ¥47 million earned him the 12th place. Yoshio Oshiro of Nakijin Shuzo who was 13th paying ¥46 million closely followed him.

Awamori is certainly gaining a foothold nationwide. Whereas only 6.9 percent of the total production of awamori was exported outside Okinawa five years ago, the share now is 17.4 percent and increasing.

A byproduct of awamori, moromi vinegar that is said to have numerous health benefits, is also decidedly a hit among new Okinawan products. Its sales went up a whopping 52.2 percent from year ago. It was only a couple of years ago when someone discovered the health benefits of moromi. Prior to that the molasses that are the basic ingredient in moromi were fed to pigs or simply thrown away.

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