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Okinawa to be model for DPJ changes

Date Posted: 2009-09-10

Okinawa has been chosen by the Democratic Party of Japan as the prefecture model for implementing changes to its financial and other systems plans in the new government.

“Our party has plans that grant money for prefectures will be paid all together in a lump sum,” three members of the DPJ told Governor Hirokazu Nakaima during a visit to his office, “instead of being earmarked for specific projects.” The opposition DPJ, which swept the Liberal Democratic Party from power in August 30th elections, winning 308 of the 480 Lower House of Representatives seats, told the governor to “please be ready to keep up with the trends of the times.”

Under the DPJ plan, all budgets for Okinawa will be lumped into a single one-time package, a concept Nakaima’s Okinawa prefecture government doesn’t like. Nakaima is a member of the LDP, which lost heavily in the recent elections. His office says Okinawa has special circumstances unlike any other prefecture, and funding must be approached in a different fashion. Okinawa Prefecture contends that the military bases create special circumstances that require special measures.

The DPJ says it’s going to freeze portions of the Okinawa Budget now being revised for the June~September period. The DPJ is also indicating plans to reevaluate the need for some prefecture government offices. One agency being eyed by the DPJ for being dissolved, political reports say, is that the Okinawa General Bureau could be abolished by the incoming political leadership.

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