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Base P.O. boxes confuse the Japanese government

Date Posted: 2009-06-11

Okinawan municipalities have begun distributing fixed-benefit ¥12,000 stimulus payments to citizens, but have run into some road blocks in getting the money to nearly 300 Japanese living on U.S. military installations.

The government’s got the money, but can’t figure out how to navigate the U.S. military’s post office box system. Efforts to deliver the money to 288 individuals failed, the documents bounced back because the postal box numbers were unknown or wrong. An official says the problem is not just delivering the money now, but also a problem when attempts have been made to deliver election documents and area promotion coupons.

Municipalities are now advising Japanese who are eligible for the stimulus money to properly register their on-base postal box numbers. Municipalities say “there is no way for us to check the Post Office box numbers for these Japanese residents who live on the base side.” Most of the intended residens live or are registered in Okinawa City, Chatan Town, Kadena Town, Kitanakagusuku Town, Ginowan City, Uruma City or Urasoe City.

A U.S. public affairs spokesman says “there is no system to deliver the mail to persons’ homes on base. People who live on base should have a post office box; everybody gets their mail through post office boxes.” Japanese living on base are advised to check the post office box number and be sure it is on all official documents and correspondence. Without the post office box number, mail will not be delivered on base. The spokesman says in many cases, base recipients had written only the address, such as the camp name and housing area, or name and housing building number.

Okinawa City says it has had 142 recipients’ application forms returned. Chatan Town had 51 forms returned, and Ginowan City had 36.

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