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Aichi’s drop in 2012 factory rankings deceiving, if only for lack of energy

Chunichi Shimbun

Aichi ranked fourth nationwide in new factory construction in 2012 with 51 new locations designated for plants, a report compiled by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Although the prefecture’s rank slid from second last year, new properties rose by eight, with the aerospace and automobile industries leading the way with 11 new facilities, or 20 percent of the total. The food industry was close behind with eight.

“Business expansion is progressing smoothly, which can be credited to the success of the prefecture’s subsidy program for new factory construction,” said an official from Aichi’s industry and labor department.

Aichi considers the nation’s aerospace industry to be cutting-edge, and both Nagoya Plating Co. and Ryoki Tool Co. have acquired land to make aircraft parts in the cities of Tokoname and Inazawa, respectively.

To do so, the two companies decided to make use of the subsidy program, which supports land investments up to ¥10 billion that are linked to high-tech industries, including environmental technology and alternative energy.

Tokyo Kanefuku Co., Ltd., a maker of “mentaiko” (seasoned cod roe), opened Mentai Park Tokoname near Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname at the end of 2012. Customers can purchase Tokyo Kanefuku products and participate in factory tours at Aichi’s new sightseeing spot.

METI’s survey is based on data collected from manufacturers that bought or borrowed parcels of land spanning at least 5,000 sq. meters to build new factories or expand their property.

But one notable omission from METI’s report was the electronics industry. The data from this sector were excluded because of the sudden surge in solar power plant construction in 2012. The surge was so anomalous that METI decided to release it separately. If the electronics data had been included in METI’s survey, the total number of new factories would have leaped 40 percent from the previous year.

This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published May. 10.