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Local hotel threatens to quit business at Tomari

Date Posted: 2005-11-11

The Tomarine Hotel in central Naha is a tourist mecca, but its owners say business is a liability.

The Kariyushi Company, which operates the 238-room hotel adjacent to Tomari Port, says it’s losing money and is struggling to deal with the extremely high rent. Naha City owns the property on Highway 58, and leases the hotel, shopping center, restaurants and office spaces to various clients.

“We have too many problems with the hotel rent,” a Kariyushi company official says. “We cannot make any profit. The rental fee is too expensive for us.”

The company is threatening to quit business and move out when its contract expires next September. They’re offering to purchase the land from Naha City, but only the portion of the port area that the hotel sits on. Tomari Wharf is the principal ocean terminal for ferries traveling from Okinawa to the outlying islands.

Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture and a private operating company own the land and complex.
Kariyushi Company leases only the 1,913 square meter space covered by the hotel. The rest is owned by the government, and leased out. The problem is, the hotel’s not the only tenant complaining.

The Japan Self Defense Force Naha District is moving out in 2008, and NTT and other large tenants have done the same. All tenants say “rent is too expensive, and customers don’t want to come here.” The building was constructed with government subsidies, and stockholders are reluctant to grant concessions to unhappy tenants.

It took Y1,600,000,000 to fund the Tomari project in 1995, with Naha City posting Y600,000,000. Today, 53% of the incoming money comes from the hotel. Last year that amounted to Y400,000,000. The Kariyushi Company says it can’t pay anymore, and “without profit there’s no reason to stay in the building anymore.”

Hotel owners and stockholders say they’ll be seriously discussing options in coming months. So far, they’ve not made any decisions about whether to sell, move out, or simply quit business. “We need time, and still need to be concerned about selling the hotel,” one official said, “but the Tomari Wharf company must talk with us.”

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