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NAHA, Okinawa — Okinawa officials released a report last week that shows the U.S. military contributes about $228 million more to the prefecture’s economy than originally thought.

The new, more accurate statistics became available with data provided by the U.S. military, said a prefectural planning department official. The report showed that the presence of U.S military on Okinawa makes up about 5.3 percent of the prefecture’s gross income of nearly $33 billion.

According to the new report, U.S. military-related revenue for Okinawa for fiscal 2004 was $1.744 billion, about 15 percent more than the original estimate of $1.516 billion.

Eigo Yamazato, a spokesman for Okinawa’s Department of Planning, said it was important to get a more exact handle on how much the U.S. military contributes to the Okinawa economy, especially at a time when a bilateral realignment of U.S. troops in Japan calls for the eventual transfer of some 8,000 Marines and their families to Guam by 2014.

“This will serve as the basis for accessing economic impact of the move,” he said.

Revenue related to the U.S. military includes rent paid to base landowners and the payroll for Japanese base employees on military bases, both paid by Tokyo government, and direct military spending.

The last category includes construction costs for new buildings, facility maintenance fees and utility costs for the bases — all funded by Japan under the Host Nation Support Program — and U.S. government contracts for goods and services awarded to local businesses, off-base housing rent, utilities and other spending that military personnel spend.

Yamazato said the prefecture’s original estimate was off because accurate information on the direct U.S. military and military personnel spending was unavailable at the time.

“However, this time, with cooperation from the U.S. military’s Okinawa Area Field Office, more accurate data became available,” he said.

Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Garron Garn said it would be inappropriate to speculate on the economic impact of moving the Marines to Guam, although he noted that the Marine Corps on Okinawa maintains 12 service contracts with Japanese and Okinawan contractors.

“The estimated value of those contracts is approximately $7.2 million,” he said in a written response to a Stripes query.

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