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Suga vows support for monorail boost for Okinawa

August 1, 2019

Tokyo--Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Thursday voiced the government's intention to financially support a planned boost in the transport capacity of the monorail system in Okinawa Prefecture with an increase in the number of cars comprising each train to three from the current two.

At a meeting in Tokyo on the day, Denny Tamaki, governor of the southernmost Japan prefecture, handed to the top government spokesman a written request for funds for the monorail boost project.

Suga told Tamaki that the government "wants to firmly support" the initiative.

Booming tourism in the prefecture has led to constant overcrowding on the 12.9-kilometer monorail line, dubbed Yui Rail, in the Okinawa capital of Naha. Parties concerned hope to realize the increase in the number of per-train cars by the end of fiscal 2022.

"In addition to increasing convenience for residents of the prefecture, we would like to work on helping tourists get around comfortably," Tamaki told reporters after the meeting.

It was the first time for Tamaki to meet with Suga since the July 21 election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.

They did not discuss issues concerning U.S. military bases in Okinawa, according to sources with access to the talks. Jiji Press