Regional Disparities in Employment Opportunities and Interregional Migration in Japan

Hirofumi Abe

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    The rapid economic growth in the postwar Japan has caused the concentration of economic activities and population in a few metropolitan regions. Local regions have been losing their economic vitality due to the regional income disparities and population loss. With the aim of preventing excessive growth of metropolitan regions and correcting regional disparities, Japanese Government has sought to tackle regional problems by adopting three particular regional development policies; the construction of national network of transportation and communications which form the national land axis; the development of growth poles in local regions; and the relocation of industries from the metropolitan to the local regions. Various researches have been conducted to identify the structure of interregional migration in Japan and its determinant factors. As already pointed out in the literature on interregional migration, the effect of regional income differentials and the employment opportunity on migration have been a major concern of research. In this paper, main focuses are laid on the relationships between the interregional migration and the regional disparities in employment opportunity rather than the growth disparities in employment. The employment opportunity is defined by the number of jobs per labor force population in each region. The main hypothesis in this paper is that the disparities of employment opportunities had been a major determinant factor on interregional migration in Japan. It is empirically verified by using migration and employment data for 1960-90. The paper is divided into three main parts. First, industrial disparities in Japanese regions are examined by calculating the relative growth rates of employment opportunities by industrial sector and region for the years 1960-90. Second, the multidimensional scaling method is applied to interregional migration data for 1960-90 to identify the structure of interregional migration as well as to estimate the hidden distance between regions. Finally, the paper estimates the interregional migration model based on the logit model using factors on employment opportunity by industry and regional distance derived from the multidimensional scaling method. The main findings in the study have revealed that the interregional migration pattern had been stable during the study period and had a close ralationship with the employment opportunities in tertiary industries.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)45-60
    Number of pages16
    JournalStudies in Regional Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1997

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)


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