Regional economies are in the grip of recession, according to a quarterly survey released Wednesday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

“Regional economies are in recession. A mood of slowdown is seen across all activities, including production, which is on a falling trend, and passive, enervated capital investment,” the report says in its overall assessment for the nine regions.

“In addition, personal consumption lacks strength and is short of power for recovery.”

The report was presented to a meeting of regional METI chiefs.

METI chief Takeo Hiranuma, attending the meeting for the first time since September, urged the bureau chiefs to achieve the set of industrial reform and job creation programs the government is about to adopt, including one to promote the clustering of industries at regional centers, a ministry official said.

When quarterly reporting on the regional economies was adopted in March, the ministry’s overall assessment was that they were slowing, with some stalling, the officials said.

In the June report, however, six regions reported that their economies were in recession, with the worst overall view presented by Okinawa, which described its local economic conditions as stagnant.

Seiji Okita, an official in charge of the Okinawan region, reported that the area has suffered a decrease in tourist spending since the July 2000 Okinawa Summit, the officials said.

The least bearish regions were Chubu and Chugoku, which assessed their economies as being in a moderate recession.

The regional views are based on bureau surveys of 50 to 221 companies per region, for a total of 1,085 firms nationwide.

After analyzing structural adjustment and research and development trends, the report says some industries are still suffering from excessive facilities and personnel, but that the recession has not yet affected R&D overall.

Kinki bureau chief Makoto Nakajima was quoted as saying that the ministry should enhance support for emerging venture businesses that make use of university resources, which is also part of the government programs.

The quarterly survey also examined conditions of 50 types of businesses in 15 new and potential areas, based on hearings from 800 companies.

Overall, the number of business sectors either enjoying good performances or expecting to do so declined from 34 three months earlier to 28, while those describing conditions as sluggish rose to 10 from six. Those saying performance was neither good nor bad rose by two to 11.

Performance turned from good to poor for mobile phone and parts manufacturers, with improved performance seen only in industrial waste disposal.

Conditions turned from brisk to flat for environment-related firms, medical-device makers, advertisement and temporary staff agencies and distributors, while conditions turned from flat to poor for electronics and chip-manufacturing device makers, metal recycling businesses and drugmakers, according to the survey.

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