Government introduces special deregulation zones

The Japanese government has designated six places as national strategic special zones, where it will promote deregulation as part of its growth strategy.

The special zones are Niigata, Yabu, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Tokyo and Osaka. The deregulation in each area covers specific sectors of the local economies.

Specifically, the deregulation is aimed at boosting international tourism in Okinawa. In Niigata the focus is on large scale farming, and in Yabu it’s the agriculture in mountain areas. In Fukuoka the deregulation aims to make it easier to start new businesses and simplify employment rules.

Tokyo and Osaka were added to boost their status as large cities and to promote international business and innovation in Tokyo, and in Osaka and surrounding areas medical innovation and human resource development.

Yoshitaka Shindo, the minister in charge of strategic special zones, said that he would seek additional deregulation proposals for the Tokyo area and Okinawa.

Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima welcomes the idea and all help he can get from the government to build up Okinawa’s ambitious plans to increase the number of tourists from Asian countries to two million a year by the end o the decade.

The government plans to adopt the special zones and regulation programs at a cabinet meeting in late April. It wants specific deregulation projects to be drawn up for each region by summer.