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Urasoe City gets paltry 10% of requested defense subsidy

Date Posted: 2007-11-28

Urasoe City is upset over the Ministry of Defense decision to give it ¥37 million in defense subsidies in the coming year, and other Okinawa communities are downright angry.
The central Okinawa city is the only community slated for funding the next year, leaving other municipalities, including Nago City, Onna Village and Ginoza Village out in the cold. Defense Ministry officials point out Urasoe City has accepted and supported the transfer of Naha Military Port to its city, while others have balked at base relocation plans. In total, 33 Japanese communities were awarded subsidies, including Urasoe City.
Urasoe City complains it asked for ¥360 million for 2008, the same as it has received since 2001. The defense ministry slashed that amount, leading Urasoe City Vice Mayor Kiyoshi Yoshimura to let Tokyo know “we are not happy at all, and want you to reconsider the subsidy money for us.” Yoshimura explained to Masahiro Akase, Self Defense Force Okinawa district office planning officer, that “without subsidy money we can’t continue doing construction work.”
Mayor Mitsuo Gima echoed the argument, adding “I’ve been asking the states that since the SACO agreement subsidy money has been changed to reorganization subsidy money, they should give us the same amount as before.” A defense ministry spokesman has told Urasoe City the ¥37 million already announced—10% of what the city was asking for—is only the first step. “It’s just the beginning,” an official says, “and there will come more.”
Urasoe City officials say “with only 10% of the money being received, we’ll never get any understanding from either the assembly members or the citizens. They’re all going to raise hell!”

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