Naha starts as regional hub city in Okinawa
April 2, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo
On April 1, Naha set itself up as the first core city in the prefecture. It becomes the country’s 42nd core city designated in this manner under the Local Autonomy Law of Japan. Core cities assume many roles normally carried out by prefectural governments. Naha has been delegated administrative roles from the Okinawa Prefectural Government for over 2490 matters, including public health centers, physical disability certification and construction permits for nursing homes and nursery centers. Prefectural capital Naha will strengthen the authority of the local government, and citizens hope that their municipal office will provide enhanced services and a pioneering approach as a core city. A ceremony was held at the City Hall from 8:00am, and officials and citizens came together to celebrate the core city status. Governor Hirokazu Nakaima handed over a document to transfer a range of duties to Mayor Takeshi Onaga.
Mayor Onaga said, “This is a day worth commemorating and not just for our city. It represents a major step forward that will lead to growth for all of Okinawa.” Morihiro Nagayama, the chairman of the city council, said, “We want to put forward more policy proposals, including those for urban development appropriate for a core city and beneficial to our citizens. ” Governor Nakaima said, “I want the Naha Core City to open the door on a new era and to lead to the development of the whole region, as a hub city of Asia, not just for Japan.”
When a banner bearing the words, “Congratulations! The Birth of Core City Naha” dropped down from the ceiling, cheers and applause broke out among the participants, including the mayor, governor and representatives of neighborhood community associations and the Council for Town Planning.
Naha Public Healthcare Center held a ceremony to mark its taking over activities from the Prefectural Public Health Center in the afternoon, and has now started its work.
Work related to public health care accounts for 40 percent of all that transferred to the city from the Okinawa Prefectural Government. Hideki Kuniyoshi, the director of the Naha Public Healthcare Center, said, “We aim to become the healthcare center that people can depend on, being quick and adaptable as we approach each task.”
(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)
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