The Long-term Trend of Industrial Differences in Japanese Regions

Hirofumi Abe

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Regional disparities in terms of income and employment showed marked decline under various regional policies during the Period of Rapid Economic Growth. However, the drastic changes in Japanese industries after the Oil Crises in 1970s have caused structural recessions in some regions which have been dependent on resource-and energy-intensive industries. Furthermore, the economic activities are rapidly concentrating in Tokyo Metropolitan Region under the internationalization of Japanese economy. Regional income disparities began to widen again since the early 1980s under these circumstances. This paper aims to examine the trend of industrial differences in Japanese regions in the postwar period, and to identify its current problems. Three analytical methods, namely the analysis of coefficient of variation, the rate-share analysis, and the shift-share analysis are applied using employment data for the years 1955 to 1985. Major findings of the study are summarized as follows: (1) Manufacturing sector showed a clear decentralization of employment during the period 1960–1985, whereas the decentralization of tertiary sector was not very clear. (2) Marked decentralization was found in the high-tech machinery industry which have been rapidly concentrating in North and South Tohoku Regions. Despite the recession of manufacturing industries after the Oil Crises, these regions showed remarkable employment growth. (3) The shift-share analysis of manufacturing sector has showed low growth performance in the western part of Japan. These regions had been specialized in the heavy and petoro-chemical industries during the Period of Rapid Economic Growth, and suffered much damage in the Oil Crises. (4) Locational patterns of tertiary sector differ among industries. Finance, retail and wholesale industries have been concentrated in metropolitan regions, whereas local regions have been specialized in the service industry. (5) The shift-share analysis of tertiary sector has identified little difference of growth performance which comes from the industrial structure of each region. However, a marked difference has been found in the differential shift components between metropolitan and local regions, which indicates a clear gap of locational attractiveness among them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-55
Number of pages23
JournalStudies in Regional Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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