politics

Okinawa sees chances for economic independence without U.S. bases

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By Keita Nakamura

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Okinawa's economy is no longer dependent on the U.S. bases," Yasuo Kurima, a professor emeritus at Okinawa International University, said. But he also noted that it is uncertain whether such examples would increase when more land is restituted.

This is not news, Okinawa has not been totally dependent on the bases for more than a generation. The bases account for less than 4% of the local eonomy, so please Mr Professer Kurima, get with the times and I have plenty of NG words to throw at you for the following....

Aeon Mall Okinawa Rycom in the village of Kitanakagusuku is widely seen as one of the cases signaling the possibility of Okinawa's economic independence.

All this has done is spread the money around more. There are 6 major AEON shopping centers on Okinawa, at least 10 San Ei, with the massive San Ei/Parco joint venture mall scheduled to open next spring.

WE DONT NEED MORE SHOPPING MALLS IN OKINAWA!

They only offer low paying service type jobs and no steady employment.

Returning the bases will give, basically speaking, more room, and we will need money from the national government for infrastructure improvements as Okinawa CAN NOT continue to sustain population growth.

It's over crowed already, and the government is pushing for 12,000,000 tourists a year, over 10 times the number of people than live on the main island of Okinawa we already get more than Hawaii already!

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We come here roughly every two months without any purpose. It is convenient because we had no place to hang around before," said Kenji Maedo, 34, who visited the shopping mall with his family.

BTW THIS is a problem and I doubt he even realizes it. A 34 year old man with a family and he feels the need to hang out at a mall with them because there is no other place to go?

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Yubaru is right on the second comment. Living in an island of nature, were the weather is good all year long, and the guy needs a mall to spend time with the family? Come on, the mall may be convenient and fun for a day or two, but you should not need it.

But Yubaru, tourism is the key for the future of Okinawa, as long as you make it right and go for sustainable tourism in the hands of its habitants. Please don't pledge to the usual big companies will.

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Of course there are other Economic opportunities..... I'm quite sure the Chinese Govt. would be happy to pay the Politicians in Okinawa if they'd get rid of the U.S. Military there. As a bonus.... the Chinese would also invest in hotels and resorts throughout the Okinawan Islands with the plan to have 20 million Chinese visit on a yearly basis. Just get rid of those basis and the Chinese will practically make Okinawa a gold mine.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

SaikoPhysco

I'm quite sure the Chinese Govt. would be happy to pay the Politicians in Okinawa if ...

That is exactly THE REASON why US bases exist in Okinawa.

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Tourism creates minimum pay seasonal jobs. The only thing all the touted malls have done is created ghost town shopping areas in many locations throughout Okinawa. It has killed off many of the generational small businesses in favor of one stop shopping areas where you can buy the world in one trip. Very sad as I miss the many obachan ojiichan stores that made up everyday life in Okinawa that are now almost all gone.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The US military used to be very important for Okinawan's economy. It seems not any more in the near future. Okinawans themselves would surely make own islands better than ever.

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Some experts say, however, the prefectural government's projections may be too optimistic

You can also bet all those statistics mentioned in the article are padded or falsified to support the anti-US military sentiment in Okinawa.

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I’ve been going there regularly for over 10 years. When I first went there, I was the only foreign non-military person there. Last couple of times, I couldn’t believe how many tourists there were. Okinawa could easily support itself, but not with a casino or triad control.

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If I were one of the Military Generals in China.... I'd be strongly pushing to direct money and espionage resources towards getting the U.S. Military out of Okinawa. Once the U.S. Military was gone the plan would be to heavily invest in Okinawa itself. The ultimate goal would be to practically own the islands in 50 years. And 50 years from now..... those Okinawan's that can remember the good old days when life was a bit more quiet with less tourism and more traditional Japanese ways.... well, they'll wish things stayed a bit more of the same. Be careful what you wish for and always remember.... the Chinese very much want the U.S. Military out of Okinawa.

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Any Japanese official thinking about Okinawa's economy if the U.S. military footprint is reduced needs to look at Hawaii.

Hawaii survived on four industries: 1) sugar, 2) pineapple, 3) defense, and 4) tourism.

Both #1 and #2 are gone. And #3 is greatly reduced.

Now Hawaii is completely dependent on tourism and related real estate investment.

And no matter what the base-haters in Okinawa think, the pay for military related jobs tends to be far higher than tourism jobs.

Just the reality.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Excellent!

Okinawa has a great opportunity for tech jobs........and wellness eco-tourism. Creative software developers always work better in an area where the lifestyle is balance. Developing high speed open access internet service will bring jobs.

Just replace the city name in this video and you could use it for Okinawa.

https://vimeo.com/239747926

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Any Japanese official thinking about Okinawa's economy if the U.S. military footprint is reduced needs to look at Hawaii.

Ah? The world is large. We need to look outside of the USA for good examples!

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SO all the MLC\s will have to find lower wage income jobs, that's couple of thousand there, no more land owner payments in overpriced rent. No more hidden income not mentioned from both US and Japan governments. Sure Okinawa keep pressing, anyone can dream.

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Other redevelopment projects on former U.S. military sites include the construction of Mihama American Village, a shopping and entertainment area in the village of Chatan, and a new urban district of prefectural capital Naha.

This is a glaring error. The former US military site in Chatan that was developed was Hanby Town, a shopping area that includes a San Ei, that sits on a former heliport site used during Viet Nam and returned to Japanese control in the early 80's.

Mihama is a landfill site that started construction in the late 80's.

Shintoshin, or Omoromachi, is the area that was developed from the former Machinato Housing area. It also includes a huge SanEi (Main Place).

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The government in Okinawa is pushing for an increase in tourism and IT related fields. Okinawa is already home to many data storage sites as the island is not prone to earthquakes, and weathers typhoons much better than in mainland.

The problem is that tourism is a finicky business, and there are few well paying jobs. Hotels are hiring foreigners more and more because they are having problems finding people to work there.

Okinawa has nearly 500 hotels, from the major resorts down to the business hotels in Naha. There are currently 4 Hilton hotels (3 Double Tree/Chatan Resort) with two more being planned, one in Kin, and Health and Wellness Resort and another Double Tree in Motobu.

There is one Hyatt in Naha, and one Hyatt Resort soon to open at Tiger Beach, RitzCarlton, Best Western, Marriot and tons of others.

Starting pay for Hilton, which is close to top of the food chain...¥155,000 per month plus travel expenses, meaning take home pay is around ¥120,000 to ¥140,000. Consider that when people talk about tourism being the future for Okinawa!

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 Very sad as I miss the many obachan ojiichan stores that made up everyday life in Okinawa that are now almost all gone.

They served their purpose, but due to their limited inventories and high prices they took themselves out of the market. They KNEW the big malls were coming, they were warned, they were urged to work together to come up with a plan to survive, join forces, make their areas viable.

But, they didnt do anything, as they expected people would still support them, but reality came like an ice cold bucket of water being poured over their heads.

Nostalgia is nice, but people have to survive, and far too many of these stores that you refer to are just too expensive.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What is the price of an occupation? Not allowing Japan to be a bona fide independent and sovereign country.

Ask any fans of this arrangement whether the US would allow a Japanese base on its soil.

Japan needs to become independent and grow up, but with Abe Shinzo and his ilk...

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Here's a comment I posted on a thread for July 22, 2013 JT. What specific article it was I'm not sure.

According to the Okinawa Prefectural Government's official document, Okinawa's gross domestic income in 2009 was about 4 billion dollars ($3,977,000,000), of which the military base revenue accounted for about $20 million dollars ($20,682,000). Percentage-wise, the base revenue was 5.2 percent of the gross domestic income of that year, quite a drop from 1972 when the ratio was 15.5 percent.

Of 5.2 percent of the base revenue, 1.5 percent is the direct contribution by U.S. service members and their dependents for their catering of local bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. The rest (3.7 %: base workers' salaries and land rents) are borne by Japanese taxpayers in the name of what the U.S. side euphemistically  calls "host nation support".

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According to the Okinawa Prefectural Government's official document, Okinawa's gross domestic income in 2009 was about 4 billion dollars ($3,977,000,000), of which the military base revenue accounted for about $20 million dollars ($20,682,000). Percentage-wise, the base revenue was 5.2 percent of the gross domestic income of that year, quite a drop from 1972 when the ratio was 15.5 percent.

5% of 4 billion dollars is 200 million not 20 million.

Of 5.2 percent of the base revenue, 1.5 percent is the direct contribution by U.S. service members and their dependents for their catering of local bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. The rest (3.7 %: base workers' salaries and land rents) are borne by Japanese taxpayers in the name of what the U.S. side euphemistically calls "host nation support".

THe Japanese government does not pay the rents of the US military who live off base. Why lie about a well known fact?

The rest of what you write is beneath contempt.

http://dc-office.org/basedata

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THe Japanese government does not pay the rents of the US military who live off base. Why lie about a well known fact?

FYI I wrote that for a reason, put out some false information, and people end up believing it if you repeat it often enough.

Yeah the Japanese government pays the land rent for the bases, but it:s a small price to pay than to have to spend literally billions upon billions more to pay for their own defense!

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YubaruToday  04:24 pm JST

THe Japanese government does not pay the rents of the US military who live off base. Why lie about a well known fact?

Please show us where voiceofokinawa specified that japanese taxpayers pay for rents of US military personnel who live OFF BASE?

Oh, maybe that's what you're referring to, if you tell a lie long often and long enough, people will believe it.

Small price to pay? Lol

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Yubaru,

5% of 4 billion dollars is 200 million not 20 million.

Probably, I misquoted the prefectural government's figure, which should have been 200 million dollars rather than 20 million. At any rate, the ratio of revenues derived from bases in Okinawa's gross domestic income doesn't go beyond a little more than 5%. Do you deny it? Of a little more than 5%, a direct contribution to Okinawa’s economy by U.S. service members and their dependents accounts for only 1.5 percent.

Incidentally, I am of the opinion that Okinawa should free itself from base economy as soon as possible, however small it may be. What’s your opinion on that?

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Probably, I misquoted the prefectural government's figure,

Probably?

Here's a comment I posted on a thread for July 22, 2013 JT. What specific article it was I'm not sure

Hardly...

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Yubaru,

Even the 2013 prefectural document posted on http://dc-office.org/basedata which you once referred to states as follows:

The percentage of the base-related revenue in the Okinawan economy significantly declined from 30.4% in 1965 before Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, to 15.5% immediately after the reversion, to an even lower rate at 5.1% in 2013.

Do you still think that Okinawa is largely dependent on U.S. bases whereby from economic perspectives bases should not be removed -- when business circles in Okinawa are beginning to say bases are hindrance to economic development?

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The percentage of the base-related revenue in the Okinawan economy significantly declined from 30.4% in 1965 before Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, to 15.5% immediately after the reversion, to an even lower rate at 5.1% in 2013.

Which is still $200,000,000.00 and not $20 million as you stated. Far too often you intentionally put out false information to support your dislike for the military, and in particularly Marine Corp.

No one is arguing that the dependence level has dropped, it has, and overall the Okinawan economy could withstand a total pullout without feeling an overall effect to the economy with the glaring exception of the towns that have built up their own infrastructure in thanks TO the base income they receive indirectly and directly.

All these municipalities scream anti-military propaganda to anyone who listens, then turn around an meekly hold their hands out asking for more money from the government BECAUSE the can not survive without it and are grateful to the national government for funding so many projects that would otherwise not happened with out it.

 when business circles in Okinawa are beginning to say bases are hindrance to economic development?

I can also make the statement that many businesses see the US military as a benefit to their businesses and want to see more! Not to mention that this has been "heard" in Okinawa business circles for at least a generation, it's nothing new. Many of those who say this are in effect jealous too because they dont get a cut of the pie, hence their making claims to the contrary.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yubaru,

Which is still $200,000,000.00 and not $20 million as you stated. Far too often you intentionally put out false information to support your dislike for the military, and in particularly Marine Corp.

If someone says something wrong intentionally, he is said to be lying. But if he says $20,000,000 when he should have said $200,000,000 inadvertently, he is making a simple mistake. Telling an intentional lie and making an inadvertent mistake are two different things. Don't you make mistakes yourself? I often notice grammatical and other mistakes in your posts. For example, you misspell "Marine Corps" as "Marine Corp" in your post above. If I only point that out without dealing with a more important issue, then I would be blamed for nitpicking.

What is more important here? It's the percentage of revenues derived from bases. And I correctly stated it was 5.2 percent of the gross domestic income of that year, based on the prefectural statistics which was available to me at the time.

So instead of just nitpicking, you should rather say and prove, if you want to deny my argument, that Okinawa is more dependent on bases economically than what I said.

Just one last word. Why are you so hell-bent on trying to argue for the new base construction at Henoko?  Give your reasons for your stance.

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If someone says something wrong intentionally, he is said to be lying. But if he says $20,000,000 when he should have said $200,000,000 inadvertently, he is making a simple mistake.

Change the "someone", and "he" to "I made the mistake" and btw 180 million dollars is never going to be seen as inadvertent, and I might respond!

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Yubaru,

I've admitted I made a mistake. It's your turn then to prove that Okinawa is dependent on bases economically way more than 5%.

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I've admitted I made a mistake. It's your turn then to prove that Okinawa is dependent on bases economically way more than 5%.

I never said it did, again you assume to put words in my mouth.

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Yubaru,

The point at issue here is whether Okinawa is economically dependent on U.S. bases or not. My position is Okinawa's base economy accounts for a little more than 5% today, a significant reduction from when Okinawa was under direct U.S. administration.

This percentage must of course be further reduced if we want to free ourselves from the base economy. And I've been asking you to refute this argument of mine.

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The point at issue here is whether Okinawa is economically dependent on U.S. bases or not. 

And the answer once again is for about 4% to 5% of the overall economy.

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Yubaru,

And the answer once again is for about 4% to 5% of the overall economy.

What? Then, you've been saying almost the same thing as I do?

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Yubaru,

You are just repeating what I have stated countless numbers of times, you exaggerate numbers, this time to the negative, of what the economic impact is, to make it appear much less than what it is in reality.

I've been repeating what you have stated a countless number of times? Exaggerate numbers?

I admit I misquoted the prefecture's statistics once, misrepresenting the figure $20,000,000 for actual $200,000,000 but the fact that I stuck to about 5% as being the ratio of base revenues to the overall prefectural income shows that I made that mistake inadvertently at the best, never intentionally. The percentage 5% is the result of the calculation: 200,000,000 divided by 4,000,000,000. Never 20,000,000 divided by 4,000,000,000.

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I've been repeating what you have stated a countless number of times? 

Yes, you have been, and it's not just with this thread either.

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Yubaru,

Well, well. What a happy ending! You and I are on the same boat rowing in unison toward the same destination; that is, trying to alleviate this heavy U.S. military footprint;  for starters, by opposing the construction of the new base at Henoko.

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