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Awase development project worries Koza businesses

Date Posted: 2007-07-20

A new highway linking Routes 329 and 330 to Highway 58 is progressing, and plans for a shopping mall and amusement park on the site of the current Awase Golf Course is making the Koza Shopping Arcade Association unhappy.

A new military golf course is under construction, and when it opens next year Awase Golf Course will close and the land returned to the Japanese government. Central government, Prefecture and local businesses have already laid out design and development plans, which include a JUSCO shopping center, an amusement park and other facilities.

Those plans, says the Chairman of the Koza Shopping Arcade Association, is going to kill his clients’ business. “We re sure that after this project is completed, no shoppers are going to visit our shopping area. Okinawa City Central peoples’ shops are all going to die.” Tsuyoshi Oyakawa has turned to Okinawa City’s mayor and appealed to “make this project stop and save our shopping arcade.”

Oyakawa’s plea was in a letter to Mayor Mitsuko Toumon, telling her “we have just made a new Music Town and we are working actively to promote our town. But if that Awase Golf area brings big shopping malls,” he said, “people will go there. Customers won’t come to central Okinawa City, not even Music Town. We will die, so we protest this project. We need to protect our families.”

The mayor, who’s trapped by campaign promises told Oyakawa “I know. I feel the same as you. My promise was just to open the closed shutters from Okinawa City.” Toumon promised the Koza Shopping Arcade Association she would “do something about this problem. Whatever I can do, I will. Whatever is good for Okinawa City.”

However, there’s very little she actually can do as the Awase Golf Course area lies in neighboring Kitanakagusuku, and the officials over there have already put their stamp of approval on the plans.

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