National | Regional voices: Chubu

Aichi-based companies converge on Nagoya Station ahead of Japan's 2027 maglev launch

Chunichi Shimbun

With the maglev line scheduled to launch in 2027, linking Tokyo and Nagoya, more companies in Aichi Prefecture are moving their headquarters closer to Nagoya Station to take advantage of the convenient location.

With rent rising around the station, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult for startups to set up there.

Even without the maglev, Nagoya Station is a key transport hub in the Chubu region, hosting various lines including the Tokaido Shinkansen and Nagoya Railroad Co. The latter connects the station with Chubu Centrair International Airport.

Aica Kogyo Co., a maker of construction materials, moved its headquarters in January last year from Kiyosu to JP Tower Nagoya, a 40-story building right in front of Nagoya Station.

“Compared to before we moved, it has become more convenient for us to go on business trips in and out of the country, and we are communicating more with our clients,” said an Aica Kogyo official.

With the national labor shortage worsening, keeping big offices in metropolitan areas where businesses are concentrated is also proving to be an advantage in attracting fresh graduates.

Sun Corp. moved its headquarters in January last year from Konan to Global Gate, an office complex in the redeveloped Sasashima district near Nagoya Station.

“Now we are hiring people from areas we have not been able to reach out to,” an official from the IT device maker said.

Nagoya-based steak chain Bronco Billy Co. bought a building near Nagoya Station and moved its headquarters there in March from Meito Ward, a residential area in eastern Nagoya. It also brought along its cook training center, which was in Kasugai.

“Amid the tight labor market, we have a greater advantage if we have a foothold in the city center,” a Bronco Billy official said.

OKB Payment Plat Co., a fintech provider affiliated with Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, moved house from Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, to a building in front of Nagoya Station in March. The new headquarters “is suited to collecting the latest information related to our business,” a company official said.

The number of newly established companies setting up around Nagoya Station, however, is decreasing, according to Tokyo Shoko Research. The number that set up their main offices in the Meieki and Nagono districts east of the station sank to just one in 2018 from 19 in 2015, 15 in 2016 and 10 in 2017.

According to the Nagoya branch of major office broker Miki Shoji Co., the average rent in Meieki as of March was ¥13,600 per tsubo (3.3 sq. meters), the highest since comparable data became available in 2002. Rents have climbed 10 percent in the past five years.

“Office vacancies declined and rents are increasing, making it difficult for newly created firms to rent an office (in the city center),” branch representative Shinya Kawaguchi said.

This section features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published April 16.