2008 Summit to be Held in Kansai?

Nikkei on the Ambassador’s visit to Osaka (some far less serious coverage of his visit can be found at the Osaka Consular Office’s website):

US Ambassador Meets with 3 Kansai Governors, Voices Support for Attracting G8 Summit
Feb. 9, 2006

US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer met with the governors of Osaka, Kyoto, and Hyogo prefectures in Osaka City on Feb. 8. The three governors asked for the ambassador’s understanding of their bid to lure the 2008 G8 Summit meeting, and the diplomat voiced his support for the effort, saying, “I understand that Kansai is working to bring the summit, and I want them to do their best.”

Governors Fusae Ota of Osaka, Keiji Yamada of Kyoto, and Toshizo Ido of Hyogo attended the meeting. Schieffer pointed out that 80% of American federal direct investment in Japan is concentrated in Tokyo. He went on to call for the creation of an arrangement for exchange [between Kansai and the US], saying, “I’d like you to create centers in Kansai where information from JETRO (Japan EXternal Trade Organization) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan can be easily obtained.”

Talk about structural barriers. 80%! Greater Kansai is a huge metropolitan area rivaling Tokyo (and Osaka, for its part, is an overwhelming destination for inward FDI in Japan), but in my own completely unfounded opinion, the Kansai region outside of Osaka City gets so little FDI love from the US for a few reasons: a) Americans see Japan outside of Tokyo as a kind of netherworld; b) Domestic investment is also heavily skewed toward Tokyo, meaning that foreign companies’ business partners/clients are also there; c) The government is all in Tokyo; d) Relative lack of support infrastructure (international schools etc)/smaller expat communities in Kansai; and e) Prolongued economic malaise.

3 thoughts on “2008 Summit to be Held in Kansai?”

  1. My opinion is probably about as unfounded as Adamu’s but “here”:http://www.ibo.or.jp/e/2000_4/promo/004_3.html is a perfect example of why I think FDI in Osaka is so low. In short, their effor is ametuerish. I saw this kind of thing all the time when I was there and talked with investment promotion or SME guys. The kind of effort they’re making is fine for smaller business or for greenfeild investment, but as my previous post suggested, the vast majority of FDI is through M&A. Unless these companies are willing to go along (and I would suspect that some of the SMEs might be, but it’s hard to say) then how does their presence attract FDI? Maybe they could be parts suppliers or something? Who cares what kind of products were invented there or what kind of entreprenuers are there if they aren’t for sale? It’s great for Osaka that they have these advantages, but how does that convince me to start a company there?

Comments are closed.