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‘Okinawa Dream’ still high with Japanese

Date Posted: 2004-10-28

Japanese young people have long had the dream of wanting to live on Okinawa.

Okinawa has been ranked number one in locations for safe living.

That appears to be changing, as new research shows some shifting. The survey by the North Kyushu Urban Research Group shows there are 54 medium size cities with 300,000 residents in Japan, including Naha City with 330,000.

Size alone doesn’t make it a good place to live, though, and researchers are now studying a variety of query areas, including if individuals own their own homes, quality of life with nature and social environment, the economy, basic public facilities, safety, the city’s image, healthy living and educational and cultural opportunities. The survey’s study of the eight different positions resulted in Naha City ranking last.

Researchers called Naha City a worst case, most difficult place to live. Local leaders call the results embarrassing and sad for Naha City. On the other hand, Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe areas were billed as exceptional.

The top city to live in is Fukui, with Sendai’s Kamazawa City ranking second, followed by Kyoto, Toyama and Hiroshima.

Fukui City’s people own more of their own houses, and the city footprint is the largest. Researchers say even senior citizens homes are well done, including gardens. Sendai offered lots of green parks and recreation areas, with beautiful flowers and city views.

The study notes Naha City doesn’t have greens areas, flowers, nature spaces or large homes. It says Naha City lacks higher incomes, and education opportunities are very behind. Culture, urban activities, and city image were all listed as being the very worst in the study.

Still, indicators are that young people want to come to Okinawa, largely because the northern island areas, outlying islands, and the beaches are the lure. The study shows people do not want to move to Naha City.

One Naha City resident agreed with the findings that her city is behind, and that money is tight, but says “so what? Don’t forget we’re here.”

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