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Okinawa plans record-setting 2009 budget

Date Posted: 2009-02-04

Okinawa Prefecture has unveiled its proposed 2009 budget, a record-setting ¥592.5 billion document that includes plenty of money to stimulate lagging employment.

In a troubled time when annual expenditures are up 26.25%, the prefecture is allocating ¥6.5 billion for emergency economic relief and ¥24 billion for employment measures. The proposed budget, which will go before the Prefecture Assembly February 10th for discussion, is ¥2.4 billion larger than the current budget. Funding from the central government will cover much of the prefecture’s 2009 budget year needs, but Okinawa still has financial problems.

There’s a shortage of ¥26.9 billion needed for balance of payments, leading the prefecture to pull money from its Financial Adjustment Fund and three others to come up with ¥8 billion, while also taking a ¥16.9 billion loan from the workers retirement allowance. Annual expenditures are up significantly, ¥17.2 billion from the 2008 budget, to ¥83 billion.

Tourism promotion is being allocated ¥4 billion more than the current budget, a 19.1% increase, while ¥2.2 billion is earmarked for life welfare, ¥1/2 billion for industrial promotion and ¥700 million for public business requirements such as disaster prevention. Alternative funding to offset shortfalls in municipalities’ needs accounts for ¥45.7 billion, despite the fact worker costs have declined by ¥1.44 billion.

Rising health care costs, particularly for senior citizens, has the prefecture calling for ¥9.5 billion in spending on medical care and another ¥1.8 billion to support the prefecture’s own hospital reorganization and operations. The budget includes money for Naha International Airport, which is expanding with construction of an international cargo hub terminal.

Revenue projections for the coming fiscal year total ¥93.2 billion, less than the past two years, leaving the prefecture relying on support from the central government to cover shortfalls.

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