Okinawa Prefecture, located on the southwestern tip of the crescent-shaped Japanese archipelago, is some 1,600 km away from Tokyo. It comprises 160 small and large islands dotting a wide expanse of seas stretching some 400 km north to south and approximately 1,000 km east to west.
Naha Airport, an air gateway to Okinawa, has 29 domestic routes linking local cities as well as major ones such as Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka. It also serves international air traffic connecting Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Hong Kong, boosting the prefecture's geographical convenience year after year.
Okinawa's industrial structure features a high proportion of the service sector, with the tertiary industry accounting for some 84% of the prefecture's economic output compared with about 2% for the primary industry and about 14% for the secondary industry.
In the tourism sector that constitute the bulk of the service industry, many tourists visit Okinawa both from the rest of Japan and overseas every year, drawn by its natural charms such as beautiful seas, and unique culture and history. In 2009, about 5.6 million tourists visited Okinawa.
Okinawa is seeking to attract corporate investment associated with the information, manufacturing and life science sectors with a view to building a self-sustained economy by promoting these industries.
Okinawa used to be an independent state governed by the king of Ryukyu since the birth of the Ryukyu Kingdom, the island's first unified state, in the early 15th century, enjoying prosperity through trade with mainland Japan and Asian countries including Indonesia far to the south. Since the 1609 invasion by the Satsuma clan, however, Ryukyu was incorporated into the feudal Tokugawa Shogunate system of Japan proper. In 1879, Ryukyu was renamed Okinawa to become one of Japan's newly established prefectures in an overhaul of the political system that abolished clan-based domains.
In the Pacific theater of World War II, Okinawa was a scene of the sole ground battle in Japan that involved residents. It was placed under the administrative control of the United States after the end of organized fighting on the ground in 1945. Okinawa was returned to Japanese rule in 1972, leading up to what it is today.
Okinawan ancestors created a great era of commerce during the Ryukyu dynasty, deepening exchanges with mainland Japan and Asian countries and producing a unique Ryukyu culture that took in excellent cultural traditions abroad. As a result, Okinawa's culture has evolved to create peculiar traditions different from those in mainland Japan in such areas as cuisine and dance. Okinawa is also the birthplace of the world-famous "karate," the art of self-defense that has derived from the Chinese martial art of kung fu. There are numerous "karate" lovers the world over. This and other cultural traditions of Okinawa have captivated people at home and abroad.
Situated in the node of the Asia-Pacific region, Okinawa Prefecture shares a history of exchanges with China and other Asian nations lasting for some 600 years. At present, the prefecture is accepting students and technical trainees from developing countries as part of international cooperation, helping to nurture human talent capable of contributing to the development of economic growth, education and other aspects of their home countries.
Okinawa is also trying to form a human network linking various parts of the world taking advantage of some 360,000 Okinawans living all over the globe.
Okinawa Prefecture boasts regional features such as the beautiful ocean, rich nature, and unique historical and cultural traditions. Taking advantage of these characteristics, Okinawa is seeking to develop itself as an international marine resort, a base for international conferences, and a place for health and recreational promotion among the general public. It is also trying to promote tourism featuring hands-on attractions enjoyed through a long period of stay, including eco-tourism and green tourism. All these efforts are designed to forge high-quality tourism and resort destinations for all-year pastime matching diversified tourist needs.
In November 2000, Shuri Castle and other "Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu" were registered on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. Together with the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium known for its giant acrylic panel, these sites attract attention from both at home and abroad as core tourist spots of the island prefecture.
In conjunction with the APEC Ministerial Meeting on Telecommunications and Information Technology, Okinawa Prefecture is scheduled to hold various events, including a welcome reception to be hosted by the prefectural governor in honor of participants.
Information will be posted as soon as it is available.
(Information on this page was offered from Okinawa Prefecture.)