Population Movement in the Kansai Region
March 5, 2008
As compared with past recovery phases, the economy of the Kansai region is beginning to regain its vigor, but the population outflow from the region continues. Because population outflow, which is one cause of population decline, leads to a diminution of demand within the region, there are fears that it will hinder economic growth. A comparison, from a long-term perspective, with the period of rapid economic growth, suggests that the changes in population movement are greater in provincial regions than in metropolitan areas.
A long-term survey of immigration and emigration among the provincial regions of Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu, where population movement correlates closely to that observed in the Kansai region, reveals that the changes in population movements due to getting employment factors are considerable, and are a major factor in change in emigrant and immigrant numbers.
If these changes are examined from the perspective of the Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu regions, it appears that the position of the Kansai region in population movement has changed considerably. Over the long term, the Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu regions have all seen substantial falls in both immigrant and emigrant numbers, but the falls in the numbers of immigrants from and emigrants to the Kansai region have been particularly sharp. Numbers of immigrants from and emigrants to the Kanto and Chubu regions, and other provincial regions, have not changed as much as those from and to the Kansai region, and the position of the Kansai region is becoming less important for Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu.
For many years, the Kansai region has had an emigration surplus vis-à-vis the Kanto region, and owing to the drain of headquarters functions to Tokyo, among other factors, there are fears that the Kansai region will suffer a decline in business base functions relative to the Kanto region. Similarly, the growth of the provincial economies is likely to be reducing the importance of the Kansai region as a business base, relative to the provincial regions.
To sustain the growth of the immigration surplus from provincial regions that has arisen in recent years, it is important that the Kansai region should further enhance its potential as a base for business, for instance, by building up a concentration of industries in growth sectors, and thereby seek to achieve employment growth that will attract people from outside the region.
For more information on the content of this report, please contact Mizuho Nishiura, the Japan Research Institute, Limited.