The vitalization of existing industries and the creation of new industries in the fields of trade, information and communication, as well as related industries, are anticipated by steadily implementing practical policies that are based on the general concept of new industrial promotion policy. The development of these strategic industries, which are known for their promising prospect and continuous growth, are expected to result in the vitalization of the local economy, the stabilization of employment, and possibly self-supportive development. The outcome includes liberalized and stimulated economical activities, a prosperous society where people are satisfied with their standard of living, and the eventual formation of cosmopolitan cities, which is the goal of the government of Okinawa Prefecture. The details of the expected effects of the industrial promotion policies are described below.
The existence and full utilization of the free trade zone will attract ambitious industries to start their businesses in Okinawa, which will stimulate local industrial activities. The formation of the following districts will lead to an industrial frontier.
Base for high tech industries that make intensive investment
The prospective industries include foods, drinks, medical, biotechnological, electrical, machinery, and equipment productions, and distribution of goods.
2. Information and Communication Industries
The scenario to attract the information and communication industries is as follows:
The implementation of investment tax cuts and reduction of communication fees will attract the information and communication industry from mainland Japan and foreign countries. The modern application should be accumulated to improve the productivity of the existing enterprises and vitalize information, communication, and related industries so that up-to-date research for further development will be intensively conducted, which will result in an increased number of the trained personnel and the level of technology. The formation of a local network to connect various public agencies, which will be utilized as a basic information and communication foundation, and the introduction of a high speed information and communication system with a large capacity and low costs are necessary. It will lead to the following:
- Formation of a "Silicone Valley" in Okinawa
- Reinforcement of information transmission function and formation of self supportive network - Desirable influences on transportation of goods and tourism
- Stimulation of information businesses by increased exchanges with neighboring Asian countries
3. Tourism and Related Industries
The national government has been promoting the vitalization of the local economy through stimulated tourism based on the provision of the Comprehensive Health Resorts Improvement Act, and implemented the "Welcome Plan 21" to increase the number of foreign visitors to 7 million people by 2005. Okinawa has been promoting the following measures to increase the number of tourists to 5 million people and further develop tourism:
- Improve the image of Okinawa as an international tourism and resort area
- Increase the number of visitors and tourists
- Increase the period of visitors' stay
- Form wide-scale travel packages across international border lines
The industries designated under the "Okinawa Prefectural Industry Creation Action Program" include food, medicine, biotechnology, tourism related businesses, information, environmental businesses, and those related to the transportation and distribution of goods. When combined and implemented in harmony with the policies of the above three major industries, these industries will generate synergism in industrial promotion as a whole.
IV. Measures for a New Turn for the Free Trade Zone
1. Measures for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery Industries
It is vital to implement measures to support and stimulate agriculture, forestry, and the fishing industry in Okinawa at the new turn of the free trade zone. Thus, an action program should be established based on the prospective view for the new direction, the improvement of the foundation of production as well as the standard of living of the people should be promoted by introducing positive policies, and efficient research institutes should be established for the development of unique Okinawan brand products. In addition, transportation costs should be lowered. Special arrangement shall be introduced to positively support efficient and stable management of companies, the nurture of necessary human resources, and ambitious businessmen so that the industries will be reinforced and transformed to become better and more promising businesses, and the conservation of land or surroundings in Okinawa as well as the economical stability will be maintained.
2. Measures for Small-to-Medium Sized Enterprises
The introduction of new systems will adversely affect small-to-medium sized enterprises or businesses, so supportive measures will be introduced for the smaller businesses to promote the structural reform and changes in the lines of their businesses. It is vital to encourage and support these smaller businesses to participate in the formation of the industrial frontier, which is expected under the industrial promotion policies. Thus, the foundation of business management should be reinforced by positive utilization of the existing systems and introducing new systems, and supportive measures should be introduced to develop new products, advance technology, collect and provide information, and nurture human resources. One of the obstacles in the struggle to reach a higher standard of living in Okinawa is the employment issue. The creation of job opportunities and the improvement of the labor market including smooth migration of workers between different industries or enterprises will contribute to the resolution of the issue and stable employment, and it is very important.
3. Living Standard of the People of Okinawa
The ultimate purpose of new industrial promotion policies, including the development of the free trade zone, is to realize the well-being and prosperous living of the people of Okinawa. Thus, it is necessary to create a liberalized and energetic local economy so that each and every person in Okinawa can play an important role in their own communities, and demonstrate his or her willingness and ability. The proposed new industrial promotion policies are one of the measures necessary to reach this goal. In addition to the above economic activities, in order for the people of Okinawa to feel the richness of life, it is vital to form a safe and stable society, create comfortable living space, preserve nature and traditional culture, and support people's lives in harmony with their surroundings. Based on this understanding, the proposed new industrial promotion policies should be introduced paying special consideration to the well-being of the people of Okinawa, which includes proper application of Land Utilization Plan and Environment Management Plan and measures to vitalize the solitary islands and depopulated areas.