30,000 more a year 'should leave Tokyo'

30,000 more a year 'should leave Tokyo'
Tokyo view from Odaiba.

As part of its strategy to vitalize local communities and economies, the government aims to increase the number of people who move from Tokyo to provincial regions by 30,000 per year by 2020, according to a draft of the local vitalization strategy. It also plans to have 70,000 fewer people move into Tokyo every year.

In its comprehensive strategy to vitalize provincial regions, the government has set the numerical goals in order to change by 2020 the current demographic trend that sees a significant portion of the nation's population concentrated in Tokyo.

To achieve the goals, the strategy included such measures as fostering agriculture as an industry with high growth potential and relocating entities of the central government to provincial areas.

The Cabinet will officially decide the strategy on Saturday at the earliest.

The comprehensive strategy stipulates measures to be taken over a five-year period by 2020 to cope with the declining population and revitalize local communities in provincial regions.

Based on the comprehensive strategy, local governments will compile their respective versions of vitalization strategies.

The draft strategy states, "The creation of jobs in provincial areas would create a new influx of people into those areas."

Compared with numbers in 2013, the draft states, "The number of people who will move from the Tokyo megalopolis to provincial regions should be increased by 30,000," and "The number of people who will move into the Tokyo megalopolis from provincial regions should be reduced by 70,000."

In 2013, about 410,000 people moved into Tokyo, and about 340,000 moved out. The government wishes to reverse this demographic trend.

Concerning agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, the government aims to speed up converting them into a so-called sixth industry, in which the same entities take integrated charge of production, processing, distribution and retailing of goods.

In the draft, the government vows to create 50,000 new jobs for young people in the coming five-year period.

The government also set a goal of raising the total value of exports of products in agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries and foods to ¥1 trillion (S$11 billion) from about ¥550 billion (S$6 billion) in 2013.

The government also plans to relocate some of its test and research organizations to provincial regions. By the end of fiscal 2014, it will list such organizations and collect the opinions of local governments that wish to accommodate the relocated organizations in fiscal 2015. It then aims to begin relocation efforts from fiscal 2016.

The government is also considering a system wherein student loans repayments will be wavered or reduced for students at universities in provincial regions if they take jobs in such regions.

Regarding private companies, the draft says, "Assistance will be provided for business entities that relocate offices or training facilities, newly establish business bases or expand business facilities [in provincial areas]."

For companies that relocate business headquarters in provincial regions, the government is thus considering giving such preferential treatment as lowering corporate tax payments for a certain length of time.

The draft includes a policy of increasing inbound foreign tourists by better utilizing tourism resources such as natural environments, farming and mountainous and fishing villages.

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