Unit Chiefs Yu Kurihara (left) and Yasunori Takenouchi (right), Industrial Promotion Charge,Industrial Promotion Department
Ota City Industrial Promotion Department
Ota City is the Japan’s representative center of small- to medium-sized manufacturers. They are featured with a wide range and very high levels of technologies as a TV drama “Shitamachi Rocket (rocket technologies from a local small town)” attracted wide attentions. The “Promotion and Support Program for Bases for R&D-Oriented Firms, etc.” is a newly started support initiative the City initiated on the back of these strengths. We interviewed Unit Chiefs Yu Kurihara and Yasunori Takenouchi of Industrial Promotion Charge, Industrial Promotion Department.
There are about 3,500 manufacturers doing businesses in the City. About 80% are in machinery or metal processing areas, and there are many firms specialized in cutting, pressing, forming, polishing, molding, forging and plating. Their outstanding features are high-precision and complex process technologies and agility to satisfy quick deliveries. Manufacturers in Ota City are in fact a specialist group with high technologies and skills.
In recent years, in addition to these base technology industries, firms entering into R&D or new fields and development units of firms are increasingly starting businesses, leading to an expectation for Ota City to become a new business field.
Furthermore, the City prepared “Ota City Ground Plan for Promotion on Establishment of Firms” with Tokyo Metropolitan government. The plan is made up of various support programs such as for subsidizing expenses incurred from factory construction and relocation by manufacturers and the likes.
Currently, the City is focusing on the “promotion and support program for bases for R&D-oriented firms, etc.” which is intended to help fabless firms and the likes locate in the City. It was started in October 2015 as a new project.
A fabless frim is an enterprise focusing solely on product planning and designing while outsourcing manufacturing, and the City positions such manufacturer supporters as a group of R&D-centric and designer firms which help create new industries. In this project, up to \3 million is subsidized for expenses incurred from opening, adding and relocating facilities, trying to satisfy needs from firms for “facilitating offices and R&D facilities.”
“It is not very common for other local governments to support inviting fabless companies. In this sense, behind the project is our wish many R&D-centric firms which contribute to the City locate here with these subsidies,” Kurihara says.
Higashi-Kojiya 6-Chome Factory Apartment(OTA Techno CORE) in Ota City
This new effort aims to invite highly value-added firms such as fabless ones and harmonize well with our existing manufacturers in the City. For local manufacturers, winning orders for highly value-added products from these fabless firms would not only increase business volumes but lead to higher and more sophisticated technologies. The procuring side will also benefit from short delivery time and reliable base technologies offered by our manufacturers.
“What underlies is our objective to maintain and develop accumulation of our manufacturers. The City boasts the largest number of factories among local governments in Tokyo, but it declined to 3,481 in 2014, down from the 9,177 peak in 1983. We believe we need to bring in new blood to keep and expand our industry accumulation and one of the resolutions is attracting fabless firms,” Takenouchi says.
The City expects fusion of its manufacturing capabilities with a variety of high technologies and new bloods will lead to innovations.
An advantage newly coming companies cannot overlook is the City’s nature of a traffic hub. At the southernmost of Tokyo 23 Cities and commanding Tokyo Bay, Ota City is full of far-reaching trunk roads including national roads and belt ways and railway grids consisting of JR Lines, Keikyu Lines, Tokyu Lines, etc. Furthermore, Haneda Airport, locating several minutes away by car from the center of the City, allows not only flights to domestic cities but day trips to Asian regions.
Optimal location environments are another advantages offered by a variety of facilities such as “industry support facilities” which supply highly functional rental factories and offices at lower costs, private rental offices around JR Kamata Station and logistics facilities around Haneda Airport.
The City is offering significant growth potentials to fabless firms and the likes as they can enjoy various advantages of business field Ota, as well as supports through the “Promotion and Support Program for Bases for R&D-Oriented Firms, etc.”