Accelerating Fukushima Prefecture's Industrial Recovery
Commerce, Industry and Labour Department
Fukushima Prefectural Government
Two years on from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear power disaster, some 150,000 evacuees are still living away from home within and beyond the prefecture, and the impact of reputational damage continues. Despite these problems, we are sustaining steady progress toward recovery.
Two years have now passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear power disaster.
Looking back over that time, in addition to working strenuously on immediate tasks such as unprecedented broad-ranging evacuations of entire towns and villages, securing evacuation centers and commodities, finding housing for evacuees and effecting makeshift repairs to facilities, we have also managed to build a solid foundation for achieving recovery and rebirth and creating a new Fukushima Prefecture. This has mean moving at national level to create an arena where the prefecture and the national government can debate on equal terms, form the Act on Special Measures for Fukushima Reconstruction and Revitalization (below, Fukushima Special Measures Act), and secure massive budget funds for a wide range of purposes. This is also a gift arising from the generous support we have received from within and beyond Japan, and I would again like to express our appreciation.
In the case of industry too, more than half the businesses in the designated evacuation zones are still unable to resume operations. At the same time, support for restoring facilities and equipment and the largest domestic subsidies for business location are bringing the industrial production index back toward the pre-quake level, and solid progress toward recovery is evident in the 102 new factories locating in Fukushima Prefecture in FY2012, almost double the year before.
Here I would like to focus on two particular efforts designed to accelerate the recovery of Fukushima Prefecture's industry in the years ahead.
The first is the conclusion of an industrial recovery partnership agreement with the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ).
This agreement, signed on 8 March 2013, was the first to be concluded on a prefecture basis. The specific content is as follows:
1. Encouraging companies to locate in Fukushima
2. Establishing and growing renewable energy and medical industry clusters
3. Supporting the recovery of Fukushima firms
4. Restoring tourism, expanding the non-resident population
5. Selling and boosting local products
6. Developing industrial human resources
7. Supporting town-building
8. Other industrial recovery
In particular, for the renewable energy industry, the DBJ will be providing advice on strategy creation, while for the medical industry, cooperation will include attracting related companies to the area and establishing a study group to provide policy proposals for promoting business-to-business (B2B).
To support the recovery of Fukushima firms, the agreement addresses partnership and cooperation in financing, business consultation and other forms of company recovery support, while approaches to restoring tourism and expanding the non-resident population will include tourism PR to repair reputational damage and holding tourism-related seminars.
We look forward to cultivating a two-way partnership that contributes to the recovery of industry in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the sustained development of the prefectural economy.
The second strand comprises the creation of the Industrial Reconstruction and Revitalization Plan (319KB) and the Priority Promotion Plan based on the Fukushima Special Measures Act. (1.63MB)
The prefecture has created these plans pursuant to the Fukushima Special Measures Act and the Basic Policy for the Recovery and Reconstruction of Fukushima. They target the entire prefecture, and address recovery from the nuclear accident and revitalization.
The Industrial Reconstruction and Revitalization Plan is a plan for industry as a whole, including agriculture, forestry and fisheries, commerce and industry, and tourism. Addressing three zones—those where evacuation orders have been lifted, those where the aim is to have residents return in the future, and the prefecture as a whole-it comprises steps to be taken by the prefecture and steps using the special provisions in the regulations contained in the Fukushima Special Measures Act.
The plan envisages industries recovering steadily and becoming independent, using their strengths and working together toward the common goal of the creation of industries that will lead a new era. It addresses business resumption and continuation support, new industry creation, branding, the repair of reputational damage, exchange promotion, and human resource development.
In terms of efforts using the special provisions in the regulations, one program will entail training 'Fukushima special-provision interpreters and guides' as a vehicle for ensuring communication of the prefecture's appeal and of accurate information. Another program will use the Regionally Based Collective Trademark System to open up demand for products and services that build the Fukushima brand.
The special taxation measures under the Special Recovery Zone system will be coordinated and integrated with the measures in the above plan. To this end, we are currently making arrangements to expand the Special Zones for Promotion of Investment in Industrial Reconstruction in Fukushima Prefecture approved in April last year and to designate new special agriculture, forestry and fisheries revitalization zones and special tourism promotion zones.
Moving on to the Priority Promotion Plan, this channels resources into creating new industries and strengthening the international competitiveness of industry through, for example, the development of R&D hubs, focusing particularly on the renewable energy and medical industries which are the main planks in the Plan for Revitalization in Fukushima Prefecture. The Priority Promotion Plan targets the three years from FY2013 to FY2015.
In the area of renewable energy, because the entry of new players will require human resource development, network-building and support for R&D by local companies, we will operate a renewable energy industry promotion study group, provide R&D support through the Fukushima Renewable Energy R&D Center, and conduct a floating offshore wind farm demonstration project, aiming to realize a large cluster of renewable energy-related companies.
In the medical industry, while in FY2011 Fukushima's medical device production ranked fifth in the country at 97.6 billion yen, with commissioned medical device production in first place at 22.4 billion yen, because adaptations need to be made to the various regulations under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law, we will support medical devices development, etc., by setting up a Medical Device Development and Safety Assessment Center (provisional title).
Once the Priority Promotion Plan has been approved, core industrial parks operated by the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, Japan (SMRJ) in Iwaki-Yotsukura and Soma are to be transferred free of charge to the prefecture and to Soma City, and the Special Reconstruction Zone system and business location subsidies will be used for the effective development of the above industrial clusters.
An application for approval for the Priority Promotion Plan was made to the government on 26 March, and will be followed by an approval application for the Industrial Reconstruction and Revitalization Plan as soon as this been coordinated with the government.
We are committed to pushing ahead with the above measures to accelerate the post-disaster recovery and realize a 'new Fukushima' through the creation of industries to shoulder a new era, and we look forward to your continued support in this endeavor.
(original article : Japanese)