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Okinawa immigration stays on the upswing

Date Posted: 2006-05-05

Okinawa’s alluring subtropical climate and friendly atmosphere is responsible for a continued boom in southward migration.

Prefecture officials say there are many mainland businessmen quitting their jobs and moving to Okinawa. There’s no single category of person making the transition to Okinawa, with officials citing one case of a man quitting a large company and retiring with significant money he used to open a restaurant in Okinawa together with four friends. In other cases, they say people make the move, often struggling to make ends meet as they get settled on Okinawa.

Okinawa was atop the 2003 leader board for population increases in Japan.

Small villages and islands like Zamami Village, Taketomi Town, Tokashiki Village, Onna Village and Ginoza Village are beneficiaries of the population influx.

The most recent census shows Okinawa’s population at 1,360,000, a 3.6% increase. Thirty-three villages and towns saw increases. Taketomi Town, with an 18% population rise, led the pack. Taketomi Town was fourth in the nation in attracting new residents. Even Kin Town, Okinawa City and Chatan Town saw population spikes.

A Prefecture official says people love Okinawa’s nature, coffee shops, restaurants, marine and leisure time activities, and more. Retired people, the government work said, “are just doing their hobbies like pottery and glass, but are also looking for healing spots.” He predicts that although there are plenty of problems, there will be a continued influx of new residents. He says differences in living styles, characteristics, environment and peoples will work out over time.

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