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Okinawa City complains it doesn’t get enough U.S. military contracts

Date Posted: 2008-07-04

Okinawa City, led by a fiery anti-bases mayor who wants American presence in her city reduced or closed, is now complaining it doesn’t get enough of the construction contracts for work on the US bases.

The Okinawa City Assembly contends local construction firms should get the projects on the American bases, despite the fact that the local companies are bidding higher prices than mainland Japanese construction groups. The assembly members, in their annual business meeting, are calling for the government to change the way it awards base construction projects.

The Assembly contends “we should get priority more than any others, and we should ask the military bases to give the advantages to us, and pick up Okinawa City construction companies.” Assembly members say mainland companies have strong power and resources, while Okinawa City firms do not, leaving them always losing the big contracts.

With more than 36% of Okinawa City’s land under U.S. military control, the assembly members argue the Japanese and American governments should change its system and divide projects in half, awarding one half to an Okinawa City construction company, while putting the other half out to bidding.

“We need to get jobs from them,” says one assemblyman. “We deserve more priority than any companies from the mainland.” Another Okinawa City politician says “we can’t compete with them (mainland companies) and should get priority advantage.”

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