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Budgets, financial woes override peoples’ concerns

Date Posted: 2008-01-24

Okinawa is feeling the pinch of government reform and decentralization as much as other prefectures, and few people are pleased with the cutbacks being imposed by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Trinity Reform Plan.

A Ryukyu University professor who last year spearheaded a forum about the central government’s handling of the economy and prefectural fiscal issues, says “the Japanese government is telling just the problem of financial situations changing,” and not taking into consideration the needs of people. Professor Jun Shimabukuro says the problem is going to “make problems because the government doesn’t take the broad view of the situation, like between peoples’ relations and trusting each other, the community consciousness, and social relations that are being destroyed here in Okinawa.”

He says the focus is only on money, pointing out that issues like moving Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to Henoko is polarizing the community, “splitting the residents into two groups of residents.” He says the question is how to get residents in the Henoko area trusting each other.

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