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Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2006)*

  • This report is based on data and other information gathered for the Bank of Japan's branch managers' meeting held today. The report summarizes the reports from all regional research divisions, mainly at the Bank's branches in Japan, and does not necessarily reflect a consensus of the Bank. The English translation is based on the Japanese original released on April 18, 2006.

April 18, 2006
Bank of Japan

According to reports from each of the nine regions in Japan, the economy as a whole continues to recover steadily: improvement in major cities has been prominent and other regions continue to be on the recovery trend.

Specifically, many regions reported relatively positive results concerning private consumption and housing investment reflecting the improvement in employment and wages which followed the increase in business fixed investment.  Thus, the momentum of economic recovery has become steady on the whole, as seen in the positive effects of the developments in the corporate sector steadily spreading to the household sector, while the increase in production has become distinct.  However, degrees of improvement still differ among regions such as Hokkaido and Shikoku, which were still picking up gradually, and Tokai and Kinki, which reported that they were expanding. 

Compared with the assessment in January 2006, at the time of the last branch managers' meeting, the four regions of Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, Tokai, and Kinki revised their assessment slightly upward.  The other five regions of Hokkaido, Tohoku, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu-Okinawa partly revised their assessment of private consumption, reflecting the improvement in employment and wages, and indicated an improvement in production, although their assessment of the economy as a whole was unchanged at this time after the upward revision in January.

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2006)
Region Assessment in April 2006 Revision of
assessment
from the
previous
meeting
Assessment in January 2006
Hokkaido The economy continues to show signs of gradual picking up. Unchanged. The economy shows signs of gradual picking up.
Tohoku The economy has been picking up gradually. Unchanged. The economy has been picking up gradually.
Hokuriku The economy is recovering steadily. Slightly upward. The economy continues to recover gradually, as seen in a wider range of economic activities.
Kanto-Koshinetsu The economy continues to recover steadily. Slightly upward. The economy continues to recover.
Tokai The economy is expanding. Slightly upward. The economy continues to recover.
Kinki The economy continues to expand. Slightly upward. The economy continues to expand gradually.
Chugoku The economy continues to recover as a whole. Unchanged. The economy continues to recover as a whole.
Shikoku The economy continues to show signs of gradual picking up. Unchanged. The economy continues to show signs of gradual picking up.
Kyushu-Okinawa The economy is recovering steadily. Unchanged. The economy is recovering steadily.

Private consumption has gradually been "recovering" or "increasing" in the Tokai and Kinki regions, and seven other regions reported that growth has been "steady," "solid," or "picking up."

Looking at major indicators of consumption, sales of passenger cars have recently been picking up, supported by the introduction of new models after a period of weakness toward the end of 2005.  Sales of household electrical appliances have been either "increasing" or "solid," particularly in digital household appliances such as flat-panel televisions and high-value-added white goods.  Also, favorable sales at department stores have been reported, particularly in spring apparel and accessories (such as designer products).  Meanwhile, some regions reported that tourist bookings during Japan's long spring holidays from late April to early May (Golden Week) were strong following the favorable spring holiday season.

Compared with the previous assessment on private consumption, the four regions of Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, and Kinki revised their assessment slightly upward.

Business fixed investment has continued to be on an increasing trend in all regions.

Compared with the previous assessment on business fixed investment, the two regions of Hokuriku and Kinki revised their assessment slightly upward.

Regarding production, Hokkaido changed its assessment to "picking up gradually" from "almost flat" in January.  Tohoku and Shikoku reported "picking up on the whole," and six other regions reported that production was on an "increasing" trend.  It could be seen that the pace and the firmness of the increase in production in some regions strengthened; for example, Hokuriku reported "accelerating somewhat" and Tokai reported "steadily."

By industry, production increased in the processing industry due to a rise in domestic and external demand for electronic parts and devices used for digital household appliances, and electrical machinery; and a rise mainly in exports for transportation equipment, such as automobile-related goods.  In contrast, there were differences among regions and goods in materials industries.  While adjustment showed some progress in some materials such as iron, the level of production for textiles continued to be low.

Compared with the previous assessment, Hokuriku and Chugoku revised their assessment clearly upward and the three regions of Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Tokai revised it slightly upward.

As for the employment and income situation, the improvement has continued in all regions, as evident by the step-up in production level and the increase in new job offers reflecting the opening of new stores in the service industry.  However, the difference in assessment of labor market conditions among regions remained substantial, from "the ratio of job offers to applicants has been at a high level" in Tokai to "improving, although it has remained severe" in Hokkaido.  Regarding income and wages, only the two regions of Hokkaido and Tohoku reported that they have been "almost flat" or "sluggish."  Despite the differences in degree, the seven other regions have been either increasing or improving, supported by improvements in labor conditions and high corporate profits.

In comparison with the previous assessment on the employment and income situation, many regions maintained their previous assessment, excluding the four regions of Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kanto-Koshinetsu, and Kinki, which revised their assessment slightly upward.

Table : Regional Economic Report (Summary) (April 2006)
Region Private
consumption
Business fixed
investment
Production Employment and income
Hokkaido Showing signs of picking up. Increasing, bolstered by stepped-up production capacity and streamlining. Picking up gradually. The employment situation has been improving, although it has remained severe.
Household income has been almost flat.
Tohoku Becoming steady. Remains at a high level. Picking up on the whole. The employment situation is on a recovery trend.
Household income has been sluggish as a whole.
Hokuriku Picking up. Expected to increase above the high level of 2005. Accelerating somewhat the pace of the increasing trend. The employment situation has continued to improve.
Household income has been on an improving trend.
Kanto-Koshinetsu Becoming solid. Continues to increase. Continues to be on an increasing trend. The employment situation has been improving further.
Household income has continued to increase gradually. 
Tokai Recovering gradually. Continues to increase steadily. Increasing steadily. Regarding the employment situation, the ratio of job offers to applicants has been at a high level, and the number of full-time employees has been increasing.
Household income has been improving.
Kinki Increasing gradually. Continues to increase steadily. Increasing. The employment situation has been improving.
Household income has been increasing gradually.
Chugoku Picking up. At a high level. On an increasing trend. The employment situation has continued to improve.
Household income has been on a gradual uptrend.
Shikoku Remains steady as a whole. Recovering, mainly in manufacturing with strong corporate profits. Picking up gradually. The employment situation has been on a gradual improving trend.
Household income has continued to recover  gradually.
Kyushu-Okinawa Picking up gradually. Increasing. On an increasing trend. The employment situation has continued to be on a gradual improving trend.
Household income is improving.

Appendix: Prefectures Included in Each Region

Table : Regional Economic Report
Region Prefectures
Hokkaido Hokkaido
Tohoku Miyagi, Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, and Fukushima
Hokuriku Ishikawa, Toyama, and Fukui
Kanto-Koshinetsu Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Kanagawa, Niigata, Yamanashi, and Nagano
Tokai Aichi, Shizuoka, Gifu, and Mie
Kinki Osaka, Kyoto, Shiga, Nara, Wakayama, and Hyogo
Chugoku Hiroshima, Okayama, Tottori, Shimane, and Yamaguchi
Shikoku Kagawa, Tokushima, Ehime, and Kochi
Kyushu-Okinawa Fukuoka, Saga, Oita, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa

For further information, please contact:

Regional Economy, Research and Statistics Department
Tel: +81-3-3277-2649