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China’s economic boom not helping Okinawa

Date Posted: 2007-09-27

Okinawa’s efforts to gain a business foothold in China’s Fujian Province is not paying dividends, with only four companies using the Fujian-Okinawa Friendship Building.

Okinawa teamed with Chinese interests a decade ago to build a 12-story building to serve local businesses investing in China. Of the 21 offices available, only four are now occupied. “We did expect to have more interest in this building because of the economic boom in China,” said Katsuko Asato, the Prefecture Vice Governor. Asato visited the building in Fukken Province for a 10th Anniversary ceremony marking the start to the joint project.

“We have to promote this building more strongly,” Asato says, “and we have to promote both China and Okinawa. There aren’t many people even visiting this building.” Okinawa has portions of the first floor, as well as the 4th ~ 7th floors for permanent use. An Okinawa Friendship History Exhibition located on the 7th floor has been cut in half, with half the floor being rented to China’s Overseas Public Section.

Prefecture officials say construction expenses climbed higher than estimated after work on the building began, and completion took longer than expected. Asato met with Okinawa representatives, and was briefed on difficulties in promoting the project and attracting businesses to China.

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