50 Years On: Ex-Governor Still Sees Need for Okinawa Development Plan

Politics

Urasoe, Okinawa Pref., April 5 (Jiji Press)--Okinawa Prefecture still needs state-backed programs for its development even half a century after its May 1972 return to Japan, Keiichi Inamine, former governor of the southernmost Japan prefecture, has said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

"Various costs are high on the main and other islands of the prefecture (compared with other parts of the country)," Inamine, 88, said, adding that Okinawa development programs will continue to be "absolutely necessary."

Inamine was involved in the formulation of the fourth Okinawa development program, which covered the 10 years from 2002 to 2011. The fourth program focused on "establishing a self-reliant Okinawa economy led by the private sector," instead of "correcting the disparity between Okinawa and the rest of Japan," the key theme in the first through third programs.

"We thought that it was important for Okinawa to stand on its own feet," Inamine recalled. "That's why we told a number of lawmakers: 'We don't need fish, just give us fishing rods. We don't want subsidies, we do want a system.'"

As a result, information and communications, and financial business special districts were set up in Okinawa under the fourth program.

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