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4,400 business leaders seek aid over rising crude oil prices

Date Posted: 2008-09-05

Business pressures attributed to hefty increases in the cost of doing business have brought 4,400 businessmen and women from 30 business groups together to ask for help.

The conference at Naha City’s Prefecture Karate Hall was billed as the “Crude oil jumps up economy crisis breakthrough meeting, organized by the Okinawan Economy Business Group. Everyone is feeling the pinch, leaders say, with no business category exempt from suffering.

“We get minus business if we go fishing, a fisherman’s association leader from Ishikawa said bluntly. “Because of oil costing more than half of what we get from the fish, we can’t pay salaries even to our staff.” A transportation company representative from Ginowan City declared “we’ve lost our profit from this year, and some businesses around us have closed. We don’t know how to live our lives anymore.” The common thread to each spokesman’s complaint was the fact that 60% of companies’ expense is now attributed to fuel costs, “so we want everybody to think and realize this is everybody’s problem, and not just ours.”

A Haebaru Town cleaning shop owner says “we’re at our limits, because not only boiler oil, but plastic bags and hangars costs have gone up.” He explained his business has lost customers, with many now turning to washing their own clothes. “We’ve tried our best to run our business, but now we’ve hit our limits.”

Construction company owners echoed the sentiment. “The cost of materials, and the costs of transferring those materials, has gone so high even without the oil prices going up, so this is a double pinch for us.” That owner, along with dozens of other business owners and managers, have appealed for ”the Japanese government to think about the cost of oil. Somehow, please help us.”

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