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Okinawa seeks major budget increase for ‘06

Date Posted: 2005-09-01

Okinawa’s proposed budget for the coming year is 15.4% higher than the present budget.

The budget sent forward to the Tokyo Cabinet Office this week asks for Y326,900,000,000. Okinawa officials say the money is essential to continue work begun in a promotion project begun three years ago, and scheduled to run through 2012. It focuses on developing an independent Okinawan economy, and on promoting manufacturing businesses in the prefecture. Officials say the goal is to become self sustaining, and not need other peoples’ money.

They say, though, that now is not the time for that. They point out the Graduate University’s construction budget for the coming year is doubled at Y10,800,000,000, an amount representing nearly a third of the money sought. The rest of the big ticket items in the budget are scattered across thirteen essential construction and restoration projects throughout the prefecture. Nakijin Village requires sand protection measures, while Nishihara Town requires work to prevent land slides. In Kadena Town’s Mizugama Area there is a seawall under construction, and Nago City has more construction on a bypass to Route 499.

Naha City allocations are for a new harbor at Aja Port, to include industrial waste treatment facilities. At Yonaguni Airport there are environmental project requirements, while in Okinawa City’s Arakawa area money is sought for a new apartment building project. Naha City and Haebaru Town, which are jointly developing a waste treatment facility, are also seeking funds.

Okinawa City wants money for maintenance work at its athletic park, while Ginoza Village has water projects to curb against drought. Itoman City’s fishery supply area is asking for money to perform construction work that will ease traffic jams.

A smaller amount, only Y30,000,000, is being sought by planners seeking to expand the Okinawa Monorail System. They are looking for the best way to stretch the line, including whether Nishihara is the direction to go.

Ishigaki Airport, which has been struggling for 30 years trying to expand, is trying again. Stymied by a land owner refusing to sell the needed lands to expand the essential runway, officials want to attack again. They offered 4,360,000,000 to the stubborn owner before, but now want to drastically sweeten the pot ten-fold to get the project moving. They’re hoping the land owner will accept 42,000,000,000.

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