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Prefecture money woes continue to grow worse

Date Posted: 2006-02-04

Retirement accounts are the latest government financial category to feel the pinch of the newly implemented Trinity Reform Plan.

Okinawa Prefecture says it has no money to pay retirements on employees coming of age to leave the workplace. It says thereís money in its accounts to fund only one retirement account, which requires Y30~40,000,000. The prefecture says more than 15% of its 22,000 employees will become retirement eligible within the coming four years.

Officials project 994 employees will retire in 2007, 789 in 2008, 874 in 2009 and 774 in 2010. The prefecture calculations are that Y75,500,000,000 is needed to adequately plan financially for those 3,431 retirements. These employees began working for the Okinawa Prefecture following the islandís reversion to Japanese control in 1972.

Prefecture officials say they had prepared for saving money for retirement accounts, but without central government assistance, it wonít be enough. Nobody expected the Tokyo government and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to radically change the budget process which made individual prefectures accountable for their financial futures.

A second concern to Okinawa Prefecture is an expected loss of skilled workers in the next couple years. They are afraid disgruntled employees who cannot receive pay and benefits increases will leave government service for better paying jobs. They say they wonít be able to hire new employees to take their places, because there is no money available.

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