Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet set a high priority on encouraging foreign companies to invest in Japan. We are taking a look at what the governors and mayors are doing as “top sales-people” for their own prefectures/cities, which are actively engaged in soliciting investment from outside Japan.
Hiroshima Prefecture: Open to the companies of the world Hiroshima’s involvement in technology and international trade dates back to the seventh century. Japansent emissaries to the Asian continent to learn about the world outside its borders. Historical evidence shows that boats used then were constructed in Hiroshima. These envoys brought back the latest information about Buddhism, culture, administration, and technology of Tang dynasty China.
Hiroshima was prominent among the Seto Inland Sea ports where these continental cultural influences entered Japan. This put Hiroshima on the cutting edge of innovation, and it retains this forward-thinking spirit to this day.
Hiroshima manufactures and ships over JPY8.5 trillion (USD71 billion) of goods each year, making it consistently the most important manufacturing center in western Japan since 2004. Global manufacturers in the automotive and machinery industries maintain operations in Hiroshima, taking advantage of the prefecture’s sophisticated technology. Its population of 2.8 million makes Hiroshima an important consumer market as well. Hiroshima also serves customers in neighboring areas, presenting important opportunities for companies that choose to locate there.
Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki says, “Our automotive industry is already known as one of the best in the world, and we have a very deep bench of corporate players. More than just technology and engineering, we have 14 universities with departments in the sciences and engineering, 19 publicly funded research institutions, and the human resources needed to staff them. We offer support services for inbound investment, and can help you find the best partners for your business. Aside from that, Hiroshima is blessed with the beauty of nature during all four seasons, and it is home to World Heritage Sites and tourist attractions such as the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine and Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome). Foreign residents find Hiroshima a fine place to live. We in the prefectural government are doing all we can to welcome people.”
Support services available for foreign corporations include market research, advice on market entry, and a database to search for potential partner companies. The government offers full support for companies interested in locating in Hiroshima, including consulting services (e.g, cost calculations), and information on subsidies available to foreign companies.
In recent years, the health-care industry has been the focus of much attention. Companies are using the latest technologies to manufacture artificial joints and stents that prevent blood vessels from constricting. Industry and academia are participating in joint research and development. Hiroshima University is working with automobile manufacturers on research on internal combustion engines. Other interesting research going on right now includes things such as high-tech medical socks.
Hiroshima has established sister-city relationships with China’s Sichuan Province, the U.S. state of Hawaii, and Mexico’s Guanajuato State (2014). Carrying on its tradition of progress and enterprise, Hiroshima is becoming ever more global.
Basic facts and figures
Population of 2.83 million. Bordering the Seto Inland Sea, Hiroshima is the main gateway to Japan’s Chugoku and Shikoku areas. Two UNESCO World Heritage sites attract many tourists from Japan and abroad. Blessed with natural riches of land and sea, it is famous for its unique cuisine, including fresh oysters and okonomiyaki, or Japanese savory pancakes.
Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki
Born 1965 in Hiroshima. Graduated from Tokyo University, MBA from Stanford University. First elected governor of Hiroshima Prefecture in 1993. “I have been working to tune Hiroshima’s special qualities, working with the national government to get regions what they deserve, and to correct the overconcentration of resources in Tokyo. I am focusing my efforts on polishing this region’s attractiveness as an investment target. As a regional leader in Japan, I am working to turn potential into reality.”