While Okinawa Prefecture had requested more than 340 billion yen for FY 2018 budget request, on August 29, CAO announced the FY18 Okinawa related budget request as 319 billion yen, 2 billion yen less compared to FY17 request and 4 billion more than FY17 actual budget. Regarding the block grants for promoting Okinawan economy, the amount continued to be drastically decreased from the FY 17 budget request to 125.3 billion yen, down 10.5 billion yen compared to FY17 initial budget.
Newly allocated budget items included 350 million yen for human resource development for creating grant-type scholarship system, and also for transferring Ryukyu University Medical School’s Affiliated Hospital to Nishi-Futenma, the former US base residential district.
The block grants included 63.6 billion yen for special promotion grant (so called soft-grant), down 520 million yen compared to the FY17 initial budget, 61.7 billion yen for public works investment (so-called hard-grant), down 530 million yen. The grant decrease has been imposed for the past two years in a row, responding to the unexecuted and unnecessary amounts pointed out.
Prior to this CAO decision, Okinawa Prefecture requested more than 340 billion yen. In particular, as for the block grants, the Prefecture sought for the level of FY12 to FY16, rather than the level of FY17. Along with this, the requested amount for building MICE facility through a special quota was not allocated. Since the overall amount of the block grants is decreased, it would be difficult to have a prospective for building the new MICE facility.
Besides the above, the prefecture included the “item request” without specifying the request amount in regard to the development of “Okinawa Health Medical Innovation Center,” to be transferred to Nishi-Futenma area from Ryukyu University Medical School Affiliated Hospital.
21.5 billion yen is to be allocated to OIST, 4.8 billion yen more compared to the FY17 initial budget, and the same amount of 330 billion yen for constructing an additional runway at Naha Airport. 1.2 billion yen, up 100 million yen, is to be allocated for counter-poverty measures for Okinawan children.