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Prefecture budget slashed 2.6% by Trinity Reform plan

Date Posted: 2005-01-27

Subsidies to Okinawa Prefecture from the Central Japan Government are being heavily cut.

Okinawa Prefectureís being told its budget is now set at a ten-year low of •585,500,000,000, a 2.6% cutback from last year. That translates to a reduction of •158,000,000,000.

Officials say public construction work is most likely to suffer from the budget standdown. A public museum now under construction in Omoromachi will probably be slowed, because the Prefecture doesnít know if it can raise enough money to keep the project on track.

The budget organization is well behind schedule, and Prefecture officials will have their hands full trying to recalculate how much money it can raise through tax collections. Once theyíve accomplished that, theyíve the difficult task of working through a series of requirements:

--Excess personnel costs for the Prefecture this year total •193,800,000,000. Without funding, layoffs will be required.

--Support and upkeep of Prefecture facilities and grounds will cost •19,800,000,000. Cutbacks will necessitate probable reductions in landscaping, painting and renovations on buildings.

--Bond payments total •67,200,000,000

--Construction grants already committed are more than •138,300,000,000

--Liability costs to the Prefecture, including retirement and pension plans, are fixed at •280,900,000,000.

--Miscellaneous other anticipated requirements are projected at •147,500,000,000.

The Prefectureís budget study group sees staffing and payroll reductions are the most logical solution to the shortfalls, but nobody wants to give up their jobs, or to cut others. The key will be in identifying processes for cutting individual departments and divisions.

Local cities, towns and villages are faced with the same problem. There simply arenít enough yen to cover the costs.

There are 3,400,000 civil servants in Japan, with a payroll of •43,000,000,000,000. With revenues to the states reaching only •44,000,000,000,000, officials say there isnít enough money to go around. To meet the needs, the revenues must be nearly double the projected total, at •82,000,000,000,000.

Governments are scrambling to issue bonds to meet the shortages, but thatís no guarantee. That •38,000,000,000,000 isnít an easy amount to meet. The Japanese national debt is increasing each year, and auditors and budget experts are fearful continued spending could lead to more dangerous fiscal circumstances.

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