Hokkaido Bureau

About Hokkaido Comprehensive Development

History of Hokkaido Development Since the establishment of the Hokkaido Colonization Commission (Kaitakushi) in 1869, the Japanese Government has systematically developed Hokkaido under its special development policy for the purpose of contributing to the stability and development of the nation as a whole, by utilizing Hokkaido’s abundant resources and vast land area. Since the enactment of the Hokkaido Development Law (Law No.126,1950), the government has specifically formulated the Hokkaido Comprehensive Development Plan over six terms, based on the law, and actively developed Hokkaido in order to help address national problems of the time, such as revitalizing the economy and increasing food production as well as appropriately distributing population and the location of industries. As a result, Hokkaido’s population, which was approximately 58,000 in 1869, increased to more than 5 million during a development period of just over a century. With the Gross Prefectural Product (GPP) of approximately 20 trillion yen, Hokkaido has now established a regional economy and society corresponding to that of a European nation such as Finland or Ireland. As a major source of food supplies and base for tourism and recreation, Hokkaido is contributing greatly to the stability and development of Japan as a whole. The fundamental role of Hokkaido development is to help address issues facing the national government by taking advantage of the resources and characteristics of Hokkaido. Currently being called into question is how the economy and society of Japan, where the decrease and aging of the population as well as the decline of the birthrate are expected to intensify, will deal with the rapid economic growth of East Asia, the deteriorating global environment and the possible shortage of energy resources. At this crucial juncture of the nation’s history, Hokkaido must assume a leading role in shaping the socioeconomic future of Japan. Hokkaido has abundant space enabling various economic and social activities, as well as a rich natural environment, which will undoubtedly become the most important factor in the 21st century. It is important that we contribute to the nation’s efforts to create a sustainable economy and society by making the most of these resources and characteristics. In Hokkaido, the frontier spirit that was fostered during the history of its development since the Meiji era has enabled people to take on new challenges more readily. As the nation’s economy and society face a major turning point and the people, feeling a sense of stagnation, understandably become increasingly anxious about the future, it is time that Hokkaido demonstrated the frontier spirit as a trailblazer in the new age and embarked on pioneering and experimental programs in order to make our economy and society prosper. Here lies the new role of Hokkaido development.