Okinawa is a charming prefecture and generally there are more wonderful things about it than not. But, every prefecture has its strengths and weaknesses, and Okinawa ranks both high and low in various categories among the other prefectures in Japan.
An 2007 article on Japan Update reports that from book published by Okinawa Prefecture, Okinawa out of Japan’s 47 prefectures has scored at the top of the lists in 17 different categories, while finishing dead last in another 31. A total of 11 fields involving 165 individual subjects was studied.
Okinawa ranks best in the nation in longevity, taking the crown for having the most people living to be 100 years of age or older. At the other extreme, Okinawa’s earned income average is the worst, with local salaries about 70% of the nation’s average.
Okinawans borrow more money than anywhere else in Japan, another dubious first place ranking. The prefecture population is increasing at the highest rate in the country, another best ranking, as is the ratio of healthy citizens compared to those sick. Okinawa’s cancer rate, cerebral illnesses or cerebral strokes, or cerebral thrombosis, was the lowest in the nation, another top ranking.
The really bad statistics focused on industry and the economy. There are no factories in Okinawa, and the number of business bankruptcies tops the national charts. Youngsters here are not study-oriented, a fact reflected in the last place rankings on kids moving on to high school and college. The unemployment rate follows along with the schools statistics, as many boys and girls try moving into the business world after graduating junior high school. They don’t get jobs, leading to the worst unemployment rate in Japan. Another negative point is saving money. Okinawans don’t. Back to the positive, Okinawan women are strong, and the number of female civil service workers is second best in Japan, while the number in the Prefecture Assembly ranks 7th.
One other mixed statistic; Okinawans love to channel themselves into leisure activities, and that costs money. Okinawans ranked 19th in spending money, according to the publication.