: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: News
Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Money woes and subsidies pit Okinawa against Tokyo

Date Posted: 2004-10-28

A new system for doling out money to Japan’s prefectures has Okinawa’s governor upin arms.

Unveiled at a meeting at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s residence, the three-part plan would slash all sorts of subsidies now in place, direct individual prefectures to assume tax collection roles and make payments to its civil servants, and privatize some government agencies and reduce the numbers of government workers.

Okinawa is claiming it’s a very special prefecture because of its unique nature, including the burden of hosting the bulk of American military forces stationed in Japan. Officials say Okinawa is working to raise its citizens’ quality of life, raising basic standards to levels comparable to other prefectures.

Subsidies have been a key to administering those programs. Because of them, foods, including rice, are less expensive than in other provinces. Taxes are reduced, and civil servant salaries are partially covered. The new system, says Okinawa’s leadership, will make the quality of live go down.

Governor Keiichi Inamine is asking the Central Government “please don’t cut the budget for Okinawa’s special measures. We still need them, and cannot go it alone.” Okinawa’s area minister, Yuriko Koi, adds that more time is needed to recreate the subsidy money within Okinawa, to be awarded more of the government contracts to local companies for projects paid by government tax money, and to be given new subsidies if Tokyo cannot help finance current project awards and payroll.

Inamine says “to promote Okinawa we need to have support from the State. Please have concern about us, and more importantly, Okinawa. Okinawa residents’ income is roughly 70% of the national average, and Okinawa has the U.S. bases to contend with. Inamine asked other governors to recognize and appreciate that fact. “Yes, we understand”, said one governor, but several said even as they agree to support Okinawa’s needs, there’s question about whether the central government will agree.

According to the new system, Okinawa’s budget will be cut ¥66,200,000,000, receiving only ¥19,000,000,000 in subsidies. Even with being given new revenues from local taxes collection, officials say it cannot make up for lost revenues.

Overall, the proposed Koizumi initiative is designed to give more financial flexibility to local prefectural governments. Within his administration, the proposals are not going down well. Koizumi’s plan calls for giving the prefectures the responsibility, and the money, to manage their own affairs. Tokyo bureaucrats want to keep the money centralized.

A total of ¥3.2 trillion is to be cut in subsidies. That figure includes more than ¥1.3 trillion targeted to education, including money to pay teacher salaries. Another ministry, Health, is being asked to do without ¥940 billion currently used to fund day care centers and specialized health care institutions.

Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

OkistyleJU FacebookOkistyle

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker