Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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Results of the Regional Economic and Industrial Research (January-March 2015)

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has compiled the results of the regional economic and industrial research conducted by the regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry (including the Hokuriku Branch of the Electricity and Gas Industry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Department of the Okinawa General Bureau) on a quarterly basis in order to identify regional economic trends, and hereby releases the results.

Highlights of the results
The assessment of the national economic situation has been revised upward for the first time in five quarters. It is “improving moderately,” although some businesses show weakness. Compared to the previous quarter, the assessment of regional economic conditions has been revised upward in the Kanto, Hokuriku, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu regions and remains the same in the remaining regions.

As for production in the automobile industry, international automobile sales, particularly for North America, have shown steady performance. Meanwhile, domestic sales have still maintained a weak tone, although domestic sales in some regions have shown steady performance due to launches of light vehicles and new car models. Production in the electronics and devices sector as well as the general-purpose, production, and business-oriented machinery sector have shown steady performance in foreign markets.

Concerning business investment, some manufacturers have engaged in proactive investment toward enhancement of production capacity, while non-manufacturers nationwide have demonstrated a tendency toward opening new locations, mainly in the retail sector.

As for the employment situation, according to comments from some respondents, a labor shortage continues from the previous quarter, and this situation will persist in the future, although some businesses have secured adequate human resources, according to comments from other respondents.

As for private consumption across Japan, according to comments from some respondents, sales at department stores and supermarkets are recovering, while private consumption still seems to be favoring inexpensive purchases, and polarization in consumption patterns is spreading. As for sales in the automobile and home appliance industries, the effect of the reactionary decline after the last-minute increased demand preceding the consumption tax hike still remains, although some effects from the launches of light vehicles and new-model cars can be seen. In the travel sector, sales for foreign tourists continue to be brisk as in the previous quarter, partially because of Chinese New Year, according to comments from some respondents.

Regional Economic and Industrial Research

The regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry (including the Hokuriku Branch of the Electricity and Gas Industry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Department of the Okinawa General Bureau) survey enterprises in their local jurisdictions using interviews and other survey techniques on a quarterly basis for the purpose of identifying local economic trends, including those related to business conditions, production, and investment in facilities, and they collect and analyze the survey results.

METI has compiled the survey results applicable to the January to March 2015 period (the survey was conducted from February 20 to March 25, 2015, covering 826 companies).

Release date

April 23, 2015

Division in Charge

Regional Bureau Administration Office, Regional Economic and Industrial Policy Group

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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