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Applicants for base jobs drop for third straight year

Date Posted: 2006-06-10

The May 31st deadline for Okinawans to apply for jobs on military bases came and went, and the number of applicants was down 20% from a year ago.

A total of 5,261 applications for employment were filed, down from 16,267 in 2002. Analysts say the uncertainties of working on base because of the realignment of American Forces in Japan could be scaring potential employees off. Some 8,000 Marines are due to move to Guam by 2014, and personnel officials are predicting the civilian work force will shrink about about half.

In 2005, 10,837 people applied for military base jobs, with 6,600 in Naha alone. Of that number, 531 were hired for military positions. A Naha City staff workers says only 1,329 this year applied in the capitol city. Osamu Nakazato, chairman of the Military Bases Labor Marine Brach, says “I believe young people are now concerned about the bases moving and closing. They’re quite likely anxious. If the Marines move, there won’t be jobs anymore.”

There are currently 8,950 civilians working on U.S. installations on Okinawa. Despite the fact the number of civilian employees could fall to 4,300 by 2014, there are still many young people wanting the coveted base positions because of the opportunities to learn English, share friendships with Americans, and have a safe job.

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