Nago sees 250 million yen surplus thanks to “hometown tax” donations from opponents of Henoko base

Nago sees 250 million yen surplus thanks to “hometown tax” donations from opponents of Henoko base

August 7, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Japan’s “hometown tax” system allows people to give donations to local government bodies of their choice and deduct that amount from their residents’ taxes. On August 6, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced the amount that each local government body will lose in individual residents’ taxes in fiscal 2016 (revenue outflow), which reflects the amount of donations made through the hometown tax system in 2015. Of the 41 cities, towns, and villages in Okinawa Prefecture, the amount received far exceeded the outflow in places like Nago City and Nakijin Village. Reasons for these surpluses include political circumstances and advertising of gift items sent to those who make donations. Naha experienced the most significant revenue outflow, a loss of 84.69 million yen (it brought in 5.45 million yen in donations).

Meanwhile, Nago City experienced the most significant surplus, at 252.84 million yen. Nago received 257.4 million yen in hometown tax donations, while revenue outflow through the same system was only 4.56 million yen. The amount Nago received was nearly ten times more than what it received in fiscal 2014. Nago does not send gift items to people who make donations, but factors influencing the increase in donations include a desire to support the Nago municipal government in its opposition to the plan to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko, and the fact that as of last year, it became possible to submit donations online.

According to the Nago municipal government’s fiscal division, it received a donation of 200 million yen from an anonymous donor in Tokyo last December, and has received many messages of support, saying things like “I sincerely support you in your opposition to the construction of a new base in Henoko,” together with donations.

Nakijin had the second largest surplus within Okinawa, at 177.1 million yen. Nakijin received in 177.25 million yen in hometown tax donations, while experiencing an outflow of only 160 thousand yen. Ishigaki City had the third largest surplus, at 70.81 million yen. Ishigaki received 77.11 million yen and experienced an outflow of 6.3 million yen. Both Nakijin and Ishigaki have set up special hometown tax websites and advertise widely the special local products that they provide as gifts to people who donate.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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