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Q&A with Okinawa affairs minister on his first visit to Okinawa, Aug. 9

  • August 10, 2016
  • , Ryukyu Shimpo , p. 6
  • Translation

Following is Okinawa Affairs Minister Yosuke Tsuruho’s Q&A with reporters:

 

Q: You mentioned “sacred cows” in Okinawa economic development measures. What did you mean?

 

Tsuruho: There are various ways to think about economic measures. We must not think that we cannot do things that deviate from the current systems, mechanisms, or practices. We must make suggestions with the thinking that we are the ones who need to come up with the ideas, processes, systems, and laws.

 

Q: Is this in a positive sense?

 

Tsuruho: Yes, of course.

 

Q: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is positive about securing around 300 billion yen in allocations for Okinawa, but Okinawa is requesting separate budgets for a graduate institute and Naha Airport’s second runway.

 

Tsuruho: Economic development measures and the economic development budget are not the same thing. We do not work with a predetermined amount of development budget. If there are many economic measures that need to be implemented, there will be a corresponding increase in the development budget. If there are fewer policies to be implemented, there will be a smaller budget.

 

Q: What do you have in mind as the prerequisite for the 300 billion yen allocation?

 

Tsuruho: Based on past history, I would like to make every effort to secure the 300 billion yen allocation. Whether 300 billion yen is absolutely necessary or more is needed will be determined within the overall context of economic measures.

 

Q: Were you able to make any observations about economic development during this trip?

 

Tsuruho: Tourism will be the driving force for development. I am not sure how much funding will be needed but it may not actually take that much. We need to think seriously about funding in terms of various sorts of logistical infrastructure. I have a sense that the discussion on how railways can ease traffic congestion has not come down to the specifics. We will support this project once concrete plans are developed. We would also like to support the project for an international medical service hub in light of the local people’s enthusiasm in developing this plan and because we think this will indeed be a high-quality project.

 

Q: How will you deal with the requests regarding the National Health Insurance?

 

Tsuruho: I am still not familiar with the substance of the requests and the issues involved, but I have given instructions to study this issue with the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. We will do our best.

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