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Okinawa losing to north in attracting call centers

Date Posted: 2001-05-25

Customer support or call centers are opening in a rush in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The city started actively courting the centers only last year, and already eight firms have settled in the city creating over two thousand jobs. Another seven firms have plans to open this year.

The trend seems to be that the far northern end of Japan is on its way to take over Okinawa that is currently hosting most call centers. Sapporo City is said to have plenty of high quality workers, the salaries are cheap, and so are office rents. Also, the efficient and convenient public transportation, and fine environment for residence are pluses.

At the same time, Okinawa where the local government subsidizes the call centers’ leased phone lines to the tune of eighty percent, has seen its popularity among such businesses decrease. Businesses claim that the biggest drawback is that Okinawa is short of talented people. The newest of call centers are automated, and need people who have special knowledge. The firms say readily available human resources are more important than subsidies.

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