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Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Japan's 500m summit bill
Man prespares sushi in G8 flags
No expense has been spared on the food
Japan is determined to impress world leaders at its G8 summit in Okinawa - it has spent nearly 500m on new buildings and security.

Perhaps most extravagantly, an exact replica of President Clinton's childhood home in Arkansas has been built for him to stay in.

Clinton's childhood home in Arkansas
The house, built by a Japanese building company at a cost of 492,000, has been kitted out to the last detail, complete with furniture and fittings matching those in the president's home.

In a massive security operation, more than 20,000 police and coastal workers are patrolling by air, sea and land to protect world powers attending the meeting.

Eight warships, the coastguard's 140 patrol boats and 20 planes are involved.

Sushi galore

With an outlay of 488m ($754m), Japan has spent more than any other previous government on a G8 summit.

Germany spent only 3.9m when it played host to the summit last year in Cologne.

The year before Britain spent a comparable amount.

Police boat patrols the bay
Security is tight on land, sea and in the air
But Japan, which does not belong to Nato or the UN Security Council, prizes a rare chance to sit at the high table of world politics.

In 1998, its delegation was 10 times the size of the host country, Britain.

Now it is Japan's turn to host the summit, no expense has been spared.

Rare delicacies are being flown in by the planeload for the 5,000 media representatives expected.

About 125 chefs are expected to serve up 40,000 meals.

A special conference centre has been built in Nago city, with a 2,000 sq metre assembly hall and several reception rooms.

Local discontent

However, the people of Okinawa may find they have little use for the grand conference facilities after the delegates have left.

Okinawa is one of the most poverty-struck areas of Japan, and there is already strong resentment about the US military presence on the island.

Anger grew when a girl was raped by three US servicemen in 1995; recently, another girl was allegedly molested by a US marine, and a US airman was arrested for a hit-and-run accident.

In an attempt to appease the locals, there has been a massive injection of cash into local infrastructure.

Tokyo has spent 100m($1.5m) on roads in the region to keep people happy.

But this may not be enough to prevent the protests. Thousands of anti-US protesters are being kept three miles away from the conference venue.

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20 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Okinawa protests against US troops
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