|1. Port Development in Relation to Economic Growth|
Japan is a long, narrow island country. The
remarkably high proportion of coastline, which spans 34,600km,
to total land area (380,000 sq km) has generated an extremely
large number of ports.
Trade with China stimulated cultural development in Japan, and the limited amount of space prompted a national policy establishing foreign trade early on. The development of ports and harbors has therefore been particularly important to the economy, and the Japanese government plays a leading role in maintaining the country's ports, as well as its shipping.
1.1. Pre-19th Century (Ancient times to the Edo Period)
Japan, A Shipping Nation
Exchanges between Japan and the continent (China)
began to flourish from the 6th century. At this time, the Inland
Sea of Japan, which formed a large, natural shipping canal, was
a particularly important waterway. In the 11th century, an artificial
island (Kyoga Island) was constructed at the site of what is
now Hyogo Prefecture where trade ships from the continent could
anchor. Sakai Port in Osaka began to flourish in the 16th century
when it served as the main port of call for the Chinese and Europeans
(the Spanish and Portuguese). Japan entered the Edo Period in
the 17th century, an approximately 250-year period of official
1.2. 1870 to 1945 (Meiji Period to World War II)
Industrial Promotion Policy
Japan's ports and harbors matured under the Meiji government's policy of industrial promotion, national wealth and military strength. Ports, harbors, railroads, roads and other types of social infrastructure were established at this time. The Meiji government@s policy of modernization under a centralized government was designed to help Japan catch up with advanced Western nations.
Yokohama and Kobe were established as major
foreign trading ports during the Meiji Period.
Under the government policy regarding ports and harbors enacted in 1873, ports were deemed "government-owned structures," which brought them under government jurisdiction. These facilities were ranked (Class One, Two and Three), and the government was directly responsible for the improvement of the five major Class One ports, which were central to the country's international trade. Class two and three ports were either under the sole jurisdiction of local governments or managed by several prefecture and municipal governments. At this time, however, the Japanese constitution did not provide for autonomous local government, and the responsibility for these ports fell to the governor of the prefecture, who was appointed by the national government. Local government merely served as the management body, bearing the expenses involved in managing the ports and harbors, while the administration of these facilities was actually directed by the national government.
From the 1880s, fiscal restrictions forced the new government to shift its industrial promotion policy toward the development of industry through private capital. State management companies were sold off to the private sector. The resulting remarkable growth in private business was one' of the reasons that industry was concentrated in four major industrial belts along Japan's coastal area (Keihin, Chukyo, Hanshin and Kitakyushu).
Tool for Regional Development
This type of coastal industrialization produced industrial complexes around areas that relied on shipping for profits. The industrial policy in Japan therefore began to focus on these four major industrial belts. The development and maintenance of ports also began to reflect this emphasis on industrialization. Adopted in 1907, the guidelines for port policies expanded the traditional policy of developing international trading ports to include the promotion of regional economies. The Public Waters Reclamation Law was enacted in 1921 to develop land for the expanding coastal industry and support the construction of ports and harbors. The development of these lands, which had previously been entrusted to private companies, fell to the national government and local public entities in 1940 as the demand for industrial land in coastal areas increased.
1.3. From 1945 (World War II to Present)
Modern Port Management System
The Port and Harbor Law was enacted during the postwar period, in 1950, as Japan's first basic law concerning the construction, improvement, management, and operation of ports and harbors. This law clearly stated that ports were to be managed by port management bodies, and the foundation for the current Japanese system of port management by local government entities was established.
Beginnings of the National Port Development Plan
In the course of postwar recovery, the amount
of freight handled by Japanese ports had recovered to prewar
levels by 1953. During the 1950s, Japan experienced both a rapid
population increase and increased population density in urban
areas. Intensive efforts were made to improve the network of
ports, railroads, and highways in these metropolitan areas, particularly
in the Pacific industrial belt.
From the Concentration of population to the Correction
of Regional Disparities:
A byproduct of the growth in the urban areas and in the Pacific industrial zone was the manifestation of the negative aspects of population concentration in regional cities. The rapid increase of population density also led to a gradual deterioration in the living environment. These negative effects were particularly striking in the 1960s, and 'the government moved in the direction of correcting regional disparities, centering its policies on the distribution of bases for developing industrial zones and cities. In 1962, the Law to Promote the Construction of New Industrial Cities was enacted. Fifteen locations around the country were designated as new industrial cities. Plants for the production of steel and petrochemicals, as well as those in industries strongly linked with agriculture and forestry, such as' fertilizers and wood pulp, were constructed. Nearly all designated zones were located in coastal regions. The following year, 1964, the Act for the Provision of Special Areas for Industrial Development was promulgated, and six Special Areas (regions) for Industrial Development, corresponding to the industrial development bases, were designated. Behind this move lay the so-called Base Development Concept of the National Development Plan formulated on the basis of the Plan for Doubling the People's Income, which was drawn up during Cabinet meetings in December 1960.
Government Coordination of Infrastructure Development
In order for this regional development plan,
which included ports and harbors, to be publicly approved, adjustments
were needed 'at various levels 'of administration. In response
to requests by local governments (prefectural governors) regarding
the new development system, the central government (Economic
Planning Agency) formed a council comprising members of related
government offices, experts and other representatives to select
the sites for new industrial cities. This process involved discussions
on city planning, as well as various infrastructure development
plans, and officials from related ministries, as well as prefectural
and municipal officials, coordinated the selection process. The
new industrial city plans were not limited to industrial sites
and port plans, but also covered housing, highways and roads,
railroads, general and industrial water and sewage, and electricity.
This system of coordination was also used to put the plans into
action. The government prepared a supplemental budget to be used,
for example, when infrastructure construction projects were delayed.
The government's function was expanded in the early 1970s with
the creation of the National Land Agency. Under government restructuring
in 2001, the National Land Agency, the Ministry of the Hokkaido
Development Agency, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry
of Construction are integrated to form the Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure and Transport.
Effects of New Industrial Cities Development and the Role of Ports
In terms of promoting new industrial zones in
areas outside of existing development zones, the development
plan has succeeded in the majority of selected sites, albeit
with some regional differences. Development has not only provided
thousands of people in these areas with jobs, but it has also
helped revitalize the economies in these areas.