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New Minister sees bright future for Okinawa

Date Posted: 2002-10-12

A week ago Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reshuffled his cabined. In the resuffle Hiroyuki Hosada was named to the post of the Minister in Charge of Okinawa Development.

In an interview with local media, the newly appointed minister said that although Okinawa’s current economic outlook is depressed, he saw plenty of opportunities for turnaround. “The average income of Okinawan people is the lowest in the nation while the unemployment figure s the highest. I’m from Shimane Prefecture where the incomes are also low compared to the rest of the country,” Hosada said. “But what is different is that Okinawa has plenty of young people who want to stay in Okinawa. All we have to do is to provide them jobs. There are many chances to grow with new industrial and free zone areas already existing or in the works. Additionally, the new graduate university will be a big boost to Okinawa. So actually I am very optimistic about the future,” Hosada stated.

On the question of the American military bases in Okinawa, Hosada said that he is studying the problem. “I know that the bases place a hard burden on Okinawans. I have just started to study this problem, and will do my best to undestand the mind of Okinawan people,” Hosada said.

Hosada also believes that the transfer of the MCAS Futenma to a new location off Camp Schwab should be carried out as planned. “Since a decision has been made to build a new base off Camp Schwab, it has to be done. There’s no use to talk against the move any more, the time to talk has passed, and now we should get on with the construction.”

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