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Okinawa: A prefecture of ‘best’ and ‘worst’

Date Posted: 2007-11-05

Okinawa has a way of making national news headlines, either for its best-in-the-nation activities, or worse, being the worst in Japan.
A new book published by Okinawa Prefecture shows Okinawa—one of Japan’s 47 prefectures—has scored at the top of the lists in 17 categories, while finishing dead last in another 31. A total of 11 fields involving 165 individual subjects was studied.
Okinawa ranks best in the nation in longevity, taking the crown for having the most people living to be 100 years of age or older. At the other extreme, Okinawa’s earned income average is the worst, with local salaries about 70% of the nation’s average.
Okinawans borrow more money than anywhere else in Japan, another dubious first place ranking. The prefecture population is increasing at the highest rate in the country, another best ranking, as is the ratio of healthy citizens compared to those sick. Okinawa’s cancer rate, cerebral illnesses or cerebral strokes, or cerebral thrombosis, was the lowest in the nation, another top ranking.
The really bad statistics focused on industry and the economy. There are no factories in Okinawa, and the number of business bankruptcies tops the country’s business world. Youngsters here are not studies oriented, a fact reflected in the last place rankings on kids moving on to high school and college. The unemployment rate tracks along with the schools statistics, as many boys and girls try moving into the business world after graduating junior high school. They don’t get jobs, leading to the worst—read that highest—unemployment rate in Japan.
Another negative is saving money. Okinawans don’t. Back to the positive, Okinawa women are strong, and the number of female civil service workers is second best in Japan, while the number in the Prefecture Assembly ranks 7th.
One other mixed statistic; Okinawans love to channel themselves into leisure activities, and that costs money. Okinawans ranked 19th in spending money, according to the publication.

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