METI Chugoku Strategy and Initiatives 2012
General Affairs Division
Chugoku Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry
METI Chugoku has drawn up an action plan for 2012 entitled ‘METI Chugoku Strategy and Initiatives 2012’ toward achieving the goals laid out in Chugoku Regional Economic Revitalization Project 2020, which lays out directions for taking advantage of the Chugoku region’s strengths in realizing independent development and growth.
Characteristics of the Chugoku Region
Located in western Honshu, the Chugoku region has long flourished as a hub for marine transport. The regional economy is underpinned by numerous distinctive small and medium enterprises operating in industries such as automobiles, shipbuilding, steel, chemicals and semiconductors.
Chugoku key economic indexes account for around six to eight percent of national figures, leading Chugoku to be described as a 6.7 percent economy. Gross production is around six percent of GDP, but the foothill areas of Tottori and and Shimane Prefectures have a greater weight than the national average in terms of the construction industry, while the Okayama, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi foothills box above their weight in manufacturing industries such as base materials and automobiles.
Chugoku also has many outstanding companies that have grown up in the tradition of manufacturing epitomized by the tatara style of steel manufacturing, and Chugoku is actively supporting these firms as the agency charged with their care.
METI Chugoku Initiatives
1. Promoting industrial cluster formation and stimulation
The rapid offshore shift of production bases, accompanied by the associated companies, is prompting the hollowing out of industrial clusters and technological cluster decline. To reverse those trends, we want to encourage companies to locate themselves in the Chugoku region and upgrade their operations so as to promote industrial cluster formation and stimulation. We are also working to strengthen the competitiveness of industries in which the region is particularly strong, such as automobiles and petrochemical complexes. METI Chugoku initiatives include:
* Supporting capital investment for establishing domestic production bases in supply chain core components and materials and high-growth areas, as well as the first production lines for innovative low-carbon products;
* Promoting integration between the automobile industry and related areas in a form that exploits wide-area networks, taking advantage of base technology clusters (medical-industrial partnerships, etc.) to that end;
* Supporting the creation of new added value in solar cell-related areas by integrating manufacturing technologies such as next-generation printing devices and new materials from materials and manufacturing device makers clustered within industrial complexes; and
* Supporting greater international competitiveness and expansion into new business areas among those industrial complexes clustered in the Setonai area.
2. Supporting offshore expansion into newly-emerging countries, etc.
To absorb some of the dynamism of newly-emerging countries and their expected high growth levels while also making maximum use of the strengths of high-quality Japanese products, we are working with the relevant organizations to support regional SMEs and other companies in moving into offshore markets, helping them to secure and train global human resources. Initiatives include:
* Promoting exchange between Chugoku auto parts suppliers and offshore automobile clusters;
* Supporting offshore market creation for new products developed collaboratively among solar cell parts, materials and device manufacturers;
* Supporting business creation for Chugoku water- and environment-related technologies and products;
* Creating basic strategies, supporting sales route development and undertaking feasibility studies on offshore business expansion for local SMEs and cluster areas that want to expand offshore;
* Supporting prototype development and the creation of sales channels by SME networks seeking to secure unique technologies and prevent technology outflows through their deployment of global human resources; and
* Supporting efforts to train and secure human resources geared to the globalization of corporate activities.
3. Promoting energy mix and global warming initiatives that exploit local characteristics
Efforts are underway toward the introduction and utilization of renewable energies that exploit local characteristics. METI Chugoku is working to accelerate these further, as well as promoting energy mix and global warming initiatives that exploit local characteristics, utilizing the introduction of energy-efficient equipment, effective energy use and Japan’s domestic emissions credit system. Specific initiatives include:
* Raising awareness about the feed-in tariff system for renewable energies and ensuring its smooth implementation (FY2012 onwards);
* Supporting the introduction and expanded use of renewable energies that exploit local characteristics, including actioning the plans of local authorities looking at local projects for the introduction of renewable energies;
* Providing information on subsidy systems for the introduction of home solar power generators and promoting the introduction of solar power generation;
* Supporting initiatives related to promoting the use of biomass energy;
* Working with the relevant institutions to promote the introduction of energy-efficient equipment; and
* Holding briefings on the domestic emissions credit system and supporting applications.
4. Promoting regional stimulation through the industrialization of agriculture
One METI Chugoku focus is regional stimulation through the industrialization of agriculture. We are therefore supporting the development of high-added-value products and the development of sales channels for these through collaboration between farmers, fishermen, businesspeople and manufacturers, as well as the trialing of new production methods using IT and other leading-edge technologies. Actions include:
* Promoting initiatives related to the development of new products and services through agriculture-commerce-industry partnership among SMEs and those engaged in agriculture, forestry and fisheries;
* Using food resources grounded in agriculture to boost the added value of products and develop sales channels for these through industry-university-government partnership and expert support, as well as supporting agriculture and food-related industries through the so-called ‘sixth-sector industrialization’ of agriculture;
* Supporting the trialing of agricultural systems using IT and other cutting-edge technologies, as well as trialing of highly profitable frameworks sensitive to consumer needs; and
* Promoting the creation of new industries such as new materials and related equipment which make advanced use of biomass.
METI Chugoku will continue to mobilize a wide range of measures to build the Chugoku region into a source of national dynamism, with all personnel working together and in conjunction with the relevant local organizations.
Reference: METI Chugoku Strategy and Initiatives 2012 (Japaneseonly)
(original article : Japanese)