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6. Case Study: The First Kin-son Promotion Plan

Upon reversion to Japan in 1972 Okinawa became protected by and subject to the postwar Constitution of 3rd November 1946. Article 94, Chapter 8, provided local entities rights to “manage their property, affairs and administration and to enact their own regulations within law,” in accord “with the principles of local autonomy.” The principles of autonomy, in turn, were set out in the Chiho jichiho, or Local Autonomy Laws, enacted in 1947.[1] One local government responsibility was “comprehensive and calculated local administration management planning.”[2] With this in mind, and in the context of specific goals for northern Okinawa Island in the Kokudocho national development plan and the OPG Shinko Kaihatsu Keikaku, local authorities in each of Okinawa’s shi-cho-son began to organise long-term planning documents. There was much variation in policy planning processes between the shi-cho-son in terms of, for example, the relative importance of the views of local businesses, ordinary citizens, or political groups in the plan’s formulation, the timeframe of the plan, date of issuance, etc.[3] Kin claims to have sought out many points of view and purposely carried out “a long period” of investigation and deliberation in order to get a clear idea of what the local people wanted.[4] Kin seems to have followed the Kokudocho example in setting an 8-year timeframe (1977-85), and in picking 1977 as the year of implementation.[5]

By 1977, Kin had felt the full force of the now-receding reversion shocks.[6] It was also the case that enough time had elapsed since the end of the US occupation for changes in the structure of the economy (and society) of Kin to be visible. The OPG devised its plans in 1972 without the benefit of such hindsight. The first area in which a distinct change could be seen concerned population growth and the labour force [See Fig. 8 Kin Population Trends, 1920-2000]. On the surface a 1.7% rise in Kin’s population (9,953 to 10,120-persons) between 1970-1975 was lower than, but not entirely at odds with, a 5.8% population growth within the northern district of Kunigami-gun at a time when the prefectural population shot up by 10%.[7]

Kin planners can perhaps be forgiven for assuming such growth would continue, reaching 11,500 by 1985,[8] as predicted in the plan, but there were some troubling underlying signs. In the first part, not only did the labour force shrink from 4,194-persons to 3,668 from 1970-1975, but unemployment rose from 3.2% (136-persons) to just under 10% (369-persons).[9] Added to this was a pronounced shift in the structure of employment by industry, particularly in respect to traditional areas of employment for locals. As Fig. 10 [Employment in Kin by Industrial Sector, 1970-90] illustrates, there had been a 26% decrease in the number of those engaged in farming, 18% in retail sales, and 31% in services. Retail and service sector cuts can be explained by post-Vietnam US troop reductions and rise in the yen’s value against the dollar, but not a drop in farming. More consistent with structural shifts prefecture-wide is a 45% rise in the number of those in construction and a 46% rise in local government employment. Clearly, an influx of large amounts in GOJ transfers to the shi-cho-son expanded the scale of local government, creating more jobs in the process, and investment in public works revitalised the construction industry. Another trend is that since 1972 more Kin workers have been forced to find employment outside the town, while more of the available jobs, most of which are for non- or semi-skilled positions, have gone to persons from outside Kin.[10] This is most pronounced in terms of the limited and highly-prized job vacancies on Hansen.

In terms of numerical targets one finds nothing beyond a population prediction in the Kin-son Shinko Keikaku, which is probably just as well. It contains, in the main, broad ideas on improving quality of life through creation of an akaruku sumiyoi chiiki shakai, or “bright, easy to live in local community;”[11] organising social and economic infrastructure such as roads, reservoirs, parks, and; promoting local development. In terms of the former goal, this appears to be divided into two areas. Firstly, there were material improvements in village infrastructure with a heavy emphasis on recreational, educational, and health and welfare-related facilities for children and the aged; raising the level of services like refuse collection and fire prevention; instituting measures to protect the environment, and; working toward a reduction in the extent of US military base land in Kin. Second, there was a kind of underlying philosophy or code of civic responsibility not dissimilar to the Koho Kin mottoes from the mid-1960’s:[12] that is, the creation of a community as a shared project, with local people responsible for the advance of democracy, for keeping their streets and rivers clean, for taking part in volunteer and community activities, and for developing a decent environment in which to bring up children.[13] 

According to the plan, local development conditions resulted from Kin’s rapid transformation (kyusokuna henbo) from a quiet, agrarian community as prior to 1945, into an era of US base-building and swift urbanisation.[14] Planning had to take account of the fact that bases occupied 68.2% of Kin’s land.[15] Over the past decade there had been “a shift in the structure of employment toward…the service sector, with farming decreasing in importance.”[16] Quality farmland was lost inside bases and farmers were forced into base-related work. It was necessary now to “ensure no further decrease in the farming work force…to preserve and improve the farmland we have…and ready any returned base land for farming.”[17] Specific improvements included securing and maintaining precious water resources, developing greater cooperative agricultural activities, diversifying and expanding the scale of farming, and utilising all the latest technologies.[18] Improving infrastructure and organisation also held true for livestock farming and the fishing industry. There was a clear recognition that manufacturing had only a negligible role in the economy and that it was necessary to develop appropriate land areas, and to facilitate industrial water requirements and trained manpower.[19] A large chunk of mostly genya in southeast Kin stretching back from the coast had been earmarked as an industrial development zone prior to reversion,[20] but this seems to have fizzled out by 1977. Kin-son Shinko Keikaku land use proposals show potential industrial estate areas along the coast at Yaka, a small area of coast at Hamada, central Kin and, optimistically, at the Marine Corps Ginbaru Training Area.[21]  A boost to retailing was tied with potential tourism development. It discusses the idea of a “tourist course” in Kin but not in much detail beyond the kind of natural beauty the north of Okinawa offers. Kin certainly had sites of interest, like Kannonji[22] and the Toyama Kyuzo statue, but others would need to be developed for tourism. In 1967 there were plans to transform the Okawa (or Ukkaga) natural springs into a park and recreation area.[23] The keystone of this strategy was to be the return of Menuhama: the Marine Corps Blue Beach Training Area,[24] but the area to be developed stretched eastwards around Kin misaki up to the Okukubi river mangroves.[25]

The first point to highlight regarding post-reversion public finances (zaisei) in Kin is the massive monetary increase. As Fig. 11 [Kin Income and Breakdown, 1972-1976] shows, income in FY 1972 was 302-million yen, equivalent to roughly $1-million. In the space of one year then, the size of Kin’s finances doubled.[26] Even in the late-1960’s when Okinawa began receiving large injections of GOJ aid there was never more than a 28% increase in one year. Another important point to make is in regard to the source of public income. Prior to reversion between 60-70% of Kin’s income came in shi-cho-son kofuzei (tax subsidies) and seifu shishutsukin (government disbursements).

The pattern continued after reversion but in a more complex fashion. The plan points to Kin’s “heavy reliance on local allocation tax (chiho kofuzei)” as an impediment to self-reliance (jiritsu).[27] In contrast, zaisan shunyu (income from public property and assets) continued to increase year by year. While the planners are technically correct seeing zaisan shunyu as partially offsetting the former if the goal is jiritsu, however, the plan fails to mention that the reason for the substantial increases in the category is that it contains the gunyochiryo, or military land rentals. If one studies shifts in zaisan shunyu prior to reversion one sees little change. Landowners argued, of course, that the USG paid low rentals and reappraised them infrequently. Upon reversion the GOJ inherited the responsibility for securing land required by US forces Japan (USFJ) under the bilateral Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, and determined that a hike in rentals was a good way of encouraging landowners to agree to extended leases. As Fig. 12 [Military Land Rentals by Grade in Kin, 1972-1982] shows, the GOJ pushed land valuations up eight times in the first post-reversion decade alone. The scale of the increase may be better appreciated if one studies rentals by facility, as shown in Fig. 13 [Military Land Rentals by Facility, 1972-1996]. Rentals for Camp Hansen increased by a staggering 810% between 1972-96. The reader will recall a quote from the 1956 Price Committee report, eschewing the overvaluation of land as a mollifying tactic because of destabilising long-term consequences. Unfortunately, the GOJ appears not to have read this. In paying year on year increases in rentals to secure landowner cooperation the GOJ has created exactly the kind of “landed gentry” Melvin Price warned of 20 years earlier. In so doing, it has created an artificial land valuation system that makes the resolution of base-related problems extremely difficult.[28]

Along with heavily-boosted land payments came new public finance categories introduced by the GOJ to mollify base-heavy municipalities like Kin. These began at a trickle but increased in amount and importance to municipal coffers. Of the total of 53 shi-cho-son that constitute Okinawa Prefecture only five municipalities: Kin, Kadena, Onna, Ie, and Ginoza, have the dubious distinction of being 20% or more dependent on US base revenues. Fig. 11 shows the two new post-reversion categories of: kokuyu teikyo shisetsuto shosai shichoson josei kofukin and shisetsuto shosai shichoson chosei kofukin, both of which are base-related subsidies paid to qualifying local governments by the (Jichisho) Home Affairs Ministry.[29] The most complex of the base-related subsidies paid to Kin after 1972 were seikatsu kankyo payments through the Naha Boei Shisetsu Kyoku,[30] or Naha Defence Facilities Bureau (NDFB).[31] These were incorporated into the Kokko shishutsukin, or treasury disbursements, and included a variety of categories: from noise prevention and public safety, to redundancy or unemployment initiatives for base workers.[32] Up to 50% of the Kokko shishutsukin payments to Kin are base-related.[33] When one adds these categories to that of zaisan shunyu, consisting mostly of US military land rental payments one can see Kin’s public finances from 1973-1974 onwards becoming more reliant on US bases, but at the same time as Kin was attempting to ride out the post-Vietnam shockwave and develop a less base-oriented economy. Arguably, Kin never had a chance.

[1] Chiho jichiho (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1984).

[2] “Chiiki ni okeru sogoteki katsu keikakutekina gyosei no unei o hakaru.” Article 4, Section 5. Ibid.

[3] The first Kin-son plan appeared in 1977, while the first Nago plan arrived in 1973.

[4] From 26th April to 20th June 1977. See section keika ni tsuite on the formulation process. Kin-son, Kin-son shinko keikaku kihon koso (Kin: Kin-son, 1977). The first Kin-son plan planning committee was separated into three working groups: land use planning; industry, education, and culture planning; and an enterprise section. The overall head of the planning committee was Matsuoka Seiho, a former Chief Executive of the GRI, who was born in Namisato. Yoshida Katsuei was appointed to head the enterprise section in 1975, one year before he became Mayor of Kin.

[5] Before settling on 10-years in 1977, the first Kokudocho plan ran for 8-years (1962-1970), and the second was supposed to run for 15-years (1969-1985) but ended up lasting for 8 years, until 1977.

[6] Described above and exacerbated by the spin off inflationary chaos accompanying the World Ocean Exposition (Kaiyohaku) held in Nago City in 1975.

[7] Kurima Yasuo, Okinawa keizai no genso to genjitsu, 16-19.

[8] Kin-son, Kin-son shinko keikaku kihon koso (Kin: Kin-son, 1977), 19.

[9] Unfortunately, the first Kin-son plan does not have much in the way of statistics and charts. The Second and Third plans are superior in this regard. Kin-cho, Daisanji Kin-cho sogo keikaku [kihon koso - zenki kihon keikaku]: kokoro utakana, akaruku sumiyoi, katsuryoku aru machi, 10 and 14-15.

[10] Ibid., 15-16. Clearly, during the Vietnam-related boom in 1960’s Kin up to one-third of the work force came from outside Kin. This is interesting, because if one considers the number of locals employed on-base and those working in some subsidiary capacity outside the gate the biggest source of employment is still Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hansen. The argument has long been that if Kin is obliged to put up with US Marines bases local people should get first chance at base jobs, yet this has not happened. Most base jobs on Hansen are taken by outsiders. Responsibility for hiring local staff for the highly-prized, if largely menial jobs, goes to Okinawa’s big power-brokers, the central island (Okinawa City) base-employment agencies. These are renowned for nepotism and the use of arbitrary hiring practices, with young, attractive women still typically ending up at the head of the queue. In order to even the balance, although this is unreported, senior US Marine Corps staff on MCB Hansen have been actively favouring Kin people when vacancies on Camp Hansen occur. This policy is a result of consultations between senior US staff and current Mayor Yoshida Katsuhiro.

[11] This idea was examined at in the latter part of Chapter Two.

[12] Kin-son, Kin-son shinko keikaku kihon koso (Kin: Kin-son, 1977), 10-11.

[13] Ibid., 46-47.

[14] Ibid., 1 and 10.

[15] Ibid., 1.

[16] Ibid., 11-12.

[17] Ibid., 12. In March 1974, a 200-hectare portion of Camp Hansen (about 10%) known as the Yaka Training Area was returned and immediately designated an agricultural promotion area.

[18] Ibid., 12, and 23-24.

[19] Ibid., 25.

[20] Kin-cho, Koho Kin shukusatsuban: ichigo-hyakugo (Kin: Kin-cho, 2001), 211

[21] Kin-son shinko keikaku kihon koso, (land use maps fall between pages) 26-27.

[22] Kin Kannon temple is one of the most famous in Okinawa. According to legend Nisshu, a Japanese Buddhist priest returning from China was blown off course by a typhoon and rescued by villagers in 1522. During his stay he heard tales of large snakes living in the limestone caves near the local temple and offered prayers for the villagers to kill them. Although Kannonji was burned to the ground in 1934, it was rebuilt eight years later and, unlike many other places, survived W.W.II unscathed

[23] Koho Kin shukusatsuban: ichigo-hyakugo, 70 (Issue 17, 8th May 1967). Okawa, located in the centre of Kin’s Namisato district, is one of the largest and most famous natural springs in Okinawa. Yielding about 1,200 tons of fresh water each day Okawa has long been of importance to the local people. In 1924, the Kin and Namisato districts jointly funded the building of separate areas for washing food, clothes, and bathing. A park was built around Okawa after Okinawa's reversion to Japan. It is used by the people of Namisato and Kin, but attracts many visitors from other parts of Okinawa.

[24] Arguably, the most beautiful stretch of beach on the northeastern coast of Okinawa Island.

[25] Kin-son shinko keikaku kihon koso, (land use maps fall between pages) 26-27.

[26] From $448,582 for fiscal 1971.

[27] Kin-son shinko keikaku kihon koso, 44. On the issue of public finances in Okinawa with the influx of greater amounts of GOJ assistance to the GRI in the 1960’s, and into the post-reversion period see Minei Isamu, ‘Fukki to Okinawa-ken no zaisei mondai,’ Nanto Bunka 5 (1983), 39-63.

[28] One is unlikely to find a better writing on the theme than by agricultural economist Kurima Yasuo in his Okinawa keizai no genso to genjitsu, particularly Chapter Four, Sections 2 and 3, 320-363.

[29] Okinawa-ken, Chiji Koshitsu, Kichi Taisakushitsu, Okinawa no Beigun kichi (Naha: Okinawa-ken, Chiji Koshitsu, Kichi Taisakushitsu, 1998), 288. See also ‘Kokuyu teikyo shisetsuto shosai shichoson josei kofukin ni kansuru horitsu shikoryo (seiryo 321),’ 18th November 1957 [revised 2nd September 1974]. Tochiren 30 nen no arumi - shiryohen, 446-452.

[30] The Naha Boei Shisetsu Kyoku set the ball rolling just after reversion. See the letter from NDFB Director Akasaki to the Kin Mayor Okamura, ‘mimaikin no shikyu ni tsuite,’ of October 1972, where Kin received 27.9-million yen in solatium for “pre-reversion US base burdens.” See also details on NDFB payment from 1972 of an annual rate of at least 1-million yen for base-related expenses incurred at the local government level. For example, ‘1972 nendo shisetsu kuiki shutoku nado jimu no ichibu itaku ni tsuite,’ from NDFB Director Akasaki to Kin Mayor Okamura on 19th January 1973. Record Group (hereafter RG): Kowa mae sonshitsu hosho kankei shorui (Kikaku Kaihatsuka). Folder Title (hereafter FT): Sonyuchi mimaikin ni kansuru shorui (Kin-son Yakusho), Kin-cho Kyoiku Iinkai Shakaikyoikuka Kin-cho Shihensan (hereafter Kin-cho Shihensan).

[31] The Naha Boei Shisetsu Kyoku was established on 13th May 1972 as the local wing of the national Boei shisetsucho (Defence Facilities Administration). Okinawa no fukki kiroku, 888-889. Interestingly, NDFB appointments are made by the Okinawan Governor. Nakachi Kiyoshi, 'A Study of Political Movement in the Military Land Issues of Post-Reversion Okinawa, 1972-1991,' Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium on Asian Studies (Hong Kong: Asian Research Service, 1992), 219.

[32] Okinawa no Beigun kichi, 290. Okinawan and mainland US base worker wages and benefits were paid by the GOJ  from 1978 as part of a new omoiyari yosan, or “compassion budget.” See the three pieces of GOJ legislation covering these payments: ‘Boei shisetsu shuhen no seikatsu kankyo no seibi nado ni kansuru horitsu (horitsu 101),’ 27th June 1974, ‘Boei shisetsu shuhen no seikatsu kankyo no seibi nado ni kansuru horitsu shiko kisoku (Sorifu 43),’ 27th June 1974, and ‘Boei shisetsu shuhen no seikatsu kankyo no seibi nado ni kansuru horitsu shikoryo (seiryo 228),’ 27th June 1974. Tochiren 30 nen no arumi - shiryohen, 452-469.

[33] Kin-cho to kichi, 33-34.



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