Outline Kyushu : An Economic Summary


1. Kyushu Within Japan : One Tenth the National Economy

Kyushu, which positions itself in the southwestern edge of Japan, consists of the island of Kyushu, her surrounding islands as well as the Ryukyu Islands. Kyushu, comprised of the eight prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa, all share a close relationship with one another while maintaining unique political, economic and cultural identities. By adding a part of Yamaguchi Prefecture, the "Kyushu-Yamaguchi Economic Sphere" comes into place.
Kyushu (8 prefectures) has a total area of 44,426 sq. kilometers and a population of 14,763,000, each equivalent to approximately 12% of the national figure. Leading economic indicators for the region, such as gross domestic product, electric power consumption, annual retail sales volume, automobile ownership and local government spending, all account for 9-12% of the national total. For this reason, Kyushu is known as the "ten percent (national) economy". Yet Kyushu also serves as a national center of production for many fields such as agriculture (19.2%), fishery(15.2%), shipbuilding (32.0%), motorcycles (32.2%) and integrated circuits(30.8%).

2. Kyushu Within Asia : A Gateway to East Asia

Kyushu's gross domestic product (GDP) for fiscal 1996 was US$436.4 billion (at \
109 to the US$), which in terms of economic scale, surpassed Netherlands, Mexico and Australia.
The City of Fukuoka, being the urban center of Kyushu, is distanced1,000km from Tokyo and Shanghai and 600km from Seoul. Being geographically close to nations of East Asia, Fukuoka's economic ties with Asia, are strong even in a domestic sense. Of Kyushu's gross trade volume in 1998, Asia held a 46.4% share. Of the inroads made abroad by Kyushu businesses between 1986 and 1998, 73.6% were established within Asia. Foreigners entering Kyushu, and Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1998 totaled 480,000. Asians, centered around people from Korea and Taiwan, made up 81% of this amount, thereby pointing to Kyushu fulfilling its role of serving as a gateway to East Asia. Recently, growing foreign enterprises in the like of film companies such as AMC, UCI, membership discount stores such as Costco and air freight transportation firms such as Federal Express are beginning to use Kyushu as a stepping stone to make inroads into the Japanese and East Asian markets.

Regional Structure
1. Distribution of Cities : Concentration of Population in Urban Areas

Looking at the distribution of cities in Kyushu, we first see an accumulation of high urban functions such as economic management, information, leisure and international exchange centered around its primary city of Fukuoka with a population of 1.32 million. Secondly, we see an even distribution of hub cities housing prefectural offices, and an accumulation of population and urban functions in regional cities such as Kitakyushu City (pop. 1.01 million), Kumamoto City (pop. 660,000), Kagoshima City (pop. 550,000), Oita City (pop. 440,000) and Nagasaki City (pop. 430,000). The northern Kyushu region, in particular, has accumulated population to the point where it is regarded as the 4th largest metropolitan area after Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. However, population still continues to diminish in mountainous regions, peninsulas and remote islands while accumulating in primary and hub cities and their surrounding.

2. Servicing Industrial Infrastructure
The Coming of a Highly Mobile Society

The completion of the Trans-Kyushu Expressway, which links the island of Kyushu in all directions, had the effect of connecting each city housing a prefectural office in each prefecture, via expressway. In March of1999, the Kyushu Highway and downtown Fukuoka were linked directly via urban expressway. The weight of the future now rests with Kyushu's large scale loop belt highways where presently the Higashi Kyushu Highway, the Nishi Kyushu Highway and the Minami Kyushu Nishi- mawari Highway are under construction. Major cities within the island of Kyushu are also connected by subways and express buses, and construction is being advanced on a Kyushu bullet train line between the City of Fukuoka and Kagoshima City.
Airports are serviced in every prefecture of Kyushu. As of October, 1999, the City of Fukuoka, which completed construction on a new international air terminal in May of the same year, is connected by air to 8countries and 18 cities, centered around East Asia.
Ports in every prefecture service foreign trade container sea routes, including the ports of Kitakyushu and Hakata, which are specially designated as major ports.

Major Industries
1. Kyushu's Industrial Composition :
Industrial Division of Labor with Asia

Kyushu is designated by the national government as a primary food supply region for the country. Its industrial composition is characterized by a high proportion of primary industries such as agriculture and marine products and a relatively low accumulation of secondary industries of processing and assembly operations. In fiscal 1996, tertiary industries in Kyushu held a 72.5% share of gross production, giving rise to a trend of servicing the economy centered around the urban city. Much of the service industry including public service and tourism, is geared towards the individual with few dealing with businesses. However, with increasing economic exchange with Asia, we are seeing more of what can be called "mother factories for Asia" in the area of manufacturing. With tourism, we are seeing more tourists from Asia.

2. Industries : Integrated Circuits and Automobiles
The Heart of Kyushu's Manufacturing Industry

Kyushu's manufacturing output for 1997 amounted to 6.5% of the national total. This figure was low, especially in light of the region being responsible for ten percent of the nation's economic output. However, Kyushu's manufacturing output has been growing since 1991. A reason for this growth can be explained by the inclusion of process assembly industries, such as the automobile and the IC, joining Kyushu's existing materials industry. We also see an international division of labor unfolding with Asia.
Additionally, Kyushu's traditional industries such as furniture, ceramics and shochu (a distilled liquor) still remain strong, accounting for a high share of the national market.

3. A Trend to Enlarge Retail Stores

In business, there is a continuing rush in Kyushu to construct large scale retail stores. Successive construction of enlarging department stores and commercial facilities continues in the heart of the City of Fukuoka and the trend is spreading throughout western Japan. Enlarging department stores, and downtown redevelopment projects are being advanced in Kitakyushu City as well as in cities housing prefectural governmental offices in each prefecture. Meanwhile, the trend in large scale stores continues even in the suburbs, as can be seen by the construction of shopping centers with parking for over 1,000 cars and "power centers" which sport resort facilities including hotels and cinema complexes.

4. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery : An Environment of Hard Times

Kyushu's mild climate has given rise to a rich source for agriculture, and its diverse coastline has helped prosper a marine products industry. Production income from Kyushu's primary industries accounted for 19.2% of the national total for fiscal 1996. Kyushu's share (1997) of the national market is especially high in several areas including broilers(45.2%), beef cattle (26.3%), mandarin oranges (37.4%) and sea farming(39.8%). However, the environment in Kyushu is becoming harsher on account of increased agricultural imports, a lack of farmers due to aging and an insufficient number who wish to stay in farming. Yet Kyushu is working hard to rebuild herself by moving towards large scale farming and premium value added product development. In Kyushu's mountainous central regions where topography does not lend itself to new production methods, moves are under way in the area of rural tourism, taking full advantage of the natural surrounding to actively promote agricultural and sea village planning.

5. Tourist Resorts : Attracting Visitors From Asia

Kyushu, the nation's southern center for tourism, attracts many tourists who come visit the region's natural surrounding, blessed with six national parks and eleven quasi national parks. In addition to traditional attractions such as volcanoes and an abundance of hot springs, large scale theme parks have successively been launched throughout Kyushu, such as Huis Ten Bosch, Space World, Fukuoka Dome and Seagaia. These have not only helped Kyushu attract visitors from Japan but are also popular with Asian tourists such as from Taiwan and Korea, which is helping the region transform itself into an area of international tourism.

Outline of Kyushu Economy 1999/2000 (Kyushu Economic Research Center)