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Rehabilitation facility plans stir uneasiness with Shuri residents

Date Posted: 2008-04-11

An outmoded rehabilitation facility in the Shuri area of Naha City is to be replaced, and residents in the neighborhood chosen for the new one are not happy.

The Civilian Rehabilitation Protection Corporation, Okinawa Prefecture Protection Institution, has bought land in Shuri’s Taira area for a new facility to serve offenders being released or furloughed from prisons. The half-way house has been operating in Shuri’s Ishimine-cho since 1970, with about 4,000 people receiving rehabilitation services each year. That facility is dilapidated and must be replaced, says Mitsuyo Oshiro, the Civilian Rehabilitation Protection Corporation chairman.

“Until today, we’ve had a good relationship with the local community,” he says. “We have played golf and done patrols together with local residents, and there has been a mutual understanding about everything.” Oshiro says he wants “residents to know and understand what a rehabilitation facility is,” noting “it is not a bad place. Everybody tries to learn to become great humans, able to return to society as normal citizens.”

Oshiro explains “we have very special programs for the people who live here, and they have protection and are very closely taken care of by the facility.” He reassures Shuri residents “it will be no problem at all” but residents have filed an appeal letter with Naha City’s mayor, asking that the facility be given no subsidy money.

Naha City is scheduled to make a subsidy payment to the Civilian Rehabilitation Protection Corporation in August. Taira area residents say “we don’t want this facility here”, noting there are schools and study schools nearby, along with parks for children. They argue a rehabilitation facility in the area could endanger children’s safety and cause anxiety to residents.

Engineering division inspectors for Naha City were to begin boring holes on the new site this week, as part of an inspection process for the new facility.

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