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Taiwan party withdraws Okinawa investment plans

Date Posted: 2002-09-21

Five years ago the then high-flying Citizensí Party of Taiwan published a grandiose plan to invest a billion dollars into tourism businesses in Okinawa. The plans included building hotels, theme parks and restaurants. However, the party was defeated in subsequent polls, and with that its ability to raise money for its ambitious investment plans fizzled.

Partly, the party made its plans because of worries about the impending handover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule. The Taiwanese business circles worried that it would become difficult for them to continue business in Hong Kong for political reasons, and Okinawa was seen as a viable alternative. However, such problems never arose and Taiwan continues to increase its investment and trade with mainland China at ever increasing pace.

The investor group that was centered around the Citizensí Party requested in Oct. 1999, when the hopes for the venture were still high that they be granted tax exemptions on their investment, and visa requirements between Taiwan and Okinawa be abolished. They also wished to have flights between Okinawa and Taiwan increased.

The efforts resulted in only one successful venture that was direct flights between Ishigaki and Taipei inaugurated in 2000. The investor group was finally dissolved in Aug. this year, and all plans scrapped.

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