Manager Masato Fukuzawa (left) and Assistant Manager Takahito Yokoyama (right), Economic Affairs Division of Residents' Affairs Department
Economic Affairs Division of Residents' Affairs Department, Bunkyo City
Bunkyo City is not only a residential district but also a place with higher concentration of small and medium-sized companies actively engaging in manufacturing activities. The local industries which have supported the area’s manufacturing (“monozukuri”) are printing/bookbinding and medical equipment; in particular, the Hongo/Yushima area is one of higher concentration areas of medical equipment companies in Japan. We interviewed Manager Masato Fukuzawa and Assistant Manager Takahito Yokoyama of Residents' Affairs Department, Economic Affairs Division, Bunkyo City, that has such an industrial structure.
“Medical-Industrial Partnership Exhibition/Business Meeting Fair” held at Bunkyo Civic Hall in January 2016
It is said that active medical equipment industry in Bunkyo City was originated in “Koishikawa Sanatorium” that had been built in Koishikawa Botanical Gardens during the Edo Period. In the Meiji Period, the Faculty of Medicine of University of Tokyo was established, and many medical-related companies surrounded the University. The town name of Hongo is a brand of medical equipment industry therefore, and there are many companies that want to locate their head office or sales offices at least, they cannot have factories though.
Bunkyo City with such expectations has implemented various initiatives to support a development of medical equipment industry. “Medical Hongo Project,” one of major initiatives now, is a project that was launched to achieve the following two major goals: (1) building a network for a medical-industrial partnership among Bunkyo City and local governments in the nation, and (2) offering opportunities for interactions not only within medical equipment industry but with various industries in the City through collaborations among medical equipment industry and “monozukuri (manufacturing)” enterprises throughout the nation.
The “Council for Medical-Industrial Partnership Local Initiatives” was initiated from May 2015 as an activity under the Project. Local governments of Bunkyo City, Ota City and Kawasaki City built a network for medical-industrial partnership as a municipal-level project, which is a council to promote a vitalization of medical equipment industry and “monozukuri” industries. It actively implements such initiatives as the “Medical-Industrial Partnership Exhibition/Business Meeting Fair.”
Bunkyo City actively supports not only the medical equipment industry, but every industry in the City. It extends to companies and entrepreneurs various supportive initiatives, including “consultations how to run businesses,” “seminars for SMEs,” “dispatch of information,” “subsidies,” and “supports for business start-up.”
“SME Supporting Officers” should be one of recent topics. Since fiscal 2014, two officers with abundant experience and professional knowledge in running businesses have visited firms in the City to grasp any issues related to management and business operations of them, and support such firms.
“I, only myself, had worked with a title of Contract Consultant up to fiscal 2013. At that time I was rather a passive-style consultation representative. Now, however, I actively visit firms so that I can communicate with them and give them detailed advices. We’ve heard from some executives that they could feel easier when streamlining issues related to management through just talks with the Officers. From fiscal 2016 and onward we will become a three-Officer team by adding one more,“ Fukuzawa says.
Web Vigor launched in fiscal 2015
Here we introduce a new initiative in the dispatch of information field, i.e., a website “Web Vigor” which dispatches industrial news of Bunkyo City. It is an information website to provide on a real-time basis industrial news within the City, information on various subsidies/supports and interviews with executives. By liaising with the website, the City also dispatch industrial information via “Facebook of Economic Affairs Division, Bunkyo City.”
“Originally the dispatch of information was started with booklets, and we regularly issue them as a paper-media even now. We, however, launched the website to dispatch news more speedy and distribute them more widely,” Yokoyama says.
Bunkyo City enhances a promotion of shopping streets also. There are 57 shopping streets in the City. Decreasing outlets should be an issue to be solved. The City initiates a subsidiary project “Support for Challenging Shops” as a measure, in which it offers rent subsidies and consultations on running businesses for those who newly open a shop using a vacant outlet in a shopping street.
Bunkyo City provides a detailed supporting menu, ranging from local industries to a promotion of shopping streets, and backs up business owners in the City.