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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 15 - 21  > Okinawa’s economic dependence on US bases drastically reduced
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2013 May 15 - 21 TOP3 [OKINAWA]

Okinawa’s economic dependence on US bases drastically reduced

May 19, 2013
Okinawa’s economic dependence on U.S. bases has been greatly reduced since its 1972 restoration to Japan. This was shown in data the Okinawa Prefectural government recently released on its website.

The prefectural government published the data in response to a proposal made by a prefectural assembly member of the Japanese Communist Party.

According to the data, the ratio of the prefecture’s income related to U.S. bases to residents’ total income considerably dropped from 15.5% in 1972 to 5.2% in 2009.

Okinawan’s total income increased from 50.13 billion yen in 1972 to 3.93 trillion yen in 2009.

As reasons for the ratio’s significant decline, the local administration states on its website: roads, seaports, airports, and other infrastructure have been developed, leading to the reduction of social disparities among residents; and the number of workers have increased with the development of tourism and telecommunication industries.

The prefectural administration points out that the extensive presence of U.S. bases imposes a “big restriction” on Okinawa in its ability to build roads, promote urban and regional development, and secure land for industries.

“If more U.S. base sites are returned, their use for other purposes will pave the way for economic development and help reduce the economic dependence on U.S. bases even further,” it stresses.

Japanese Communist Party representative Toguchi Osamu, at a prefectural assembly meeting on March 6, pointed out that Japanese citizens widely believe that Okinawa’s economy is being sustained because it hosts U.S. bases, and proposed measures for the prefectural government to overcome this misperception.

“As we have persistently argued that U.S. bases are the largest obstacle to local economic development, this has started to be recognized by more and more Okinawans. In order to strengthen a nationwide solidarity for the removal of U.S. bases, we continue to work to help people realize that to get rid of the military sites is the way to develop a healthy and robust Okinawan economy,” said Toguchi.

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