The reversion of the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa will mean a better future for the prefecture, statistics suggest.
The sprawling US military base was the sole financial source of Okinawa during the Vietnam War in the 1970s. 50% of Okinawa’s gross income relied on the base including wages for local employment, land lease and spending by US service members. By the 1980s it started to provide less and Okinawa now relies on the base for only 4 to 5% of its income.
Economic activity has died down in the area, with a lot of owners closing shop. An economics specialist from Okinawa International University told The Japan Times that as Okinawa expands its economy, it will lessen its need to rely on the US bases. While income accumulated from jobs and land rents will be lost, it will be an opportunity for Okinawa to look for other wider resources that will fuel its local economy.