Changes in Consumption Structure
Kyushu marketing its ‘distance from Fukushima’ to visitors from China
“Do visit ‘Kyushu’ that represents Japan’s nearest part from China”
In early June, a delegation headed by Nagasaki Governor Mr. Hodo Nakamura, held a series of conferences at Shanghai and Beijing with the aim of attracting tourists from China. Efforts taken by the delegation were evident from the lineup of the podium members as well. In addition to Governor Nakamura, Deputy-governors from Saga prefecture, Kumamoto prefecture and Oita prefecture also participated, along with Yoshitomo Tamaki, Bureau Chief, Kyushu District Transport Bureau, MLIT.
7 prefectures of Kyushu are working together to regain the tourists from China, as the count has declined rapidly in the wake of The Great East Japan Earthquake. Recently the number of Chinese tourists visiting Kyushu had been growing steadily and in 2010 it exceeded 100,000 which is nearly four times the count in 2000. The Great East Japan Earthquake however resulted into a remarkable reduction in the number of tourists, and the tourist facilities all over Japan were almost deserted.
Kyushu unaffected even with an earthquake intensity level 6.
Kyushu has resorted to drastic measures in order to attract the tourists back. Their strongest appeal is the fact that all 7 prefectures of Kyushu are located far from Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. In terms of direct distance, even Oita prefecture that is relatively nearest to Fukushima is 974km away, and the southernmost Kagoshima prefecture is more than 1158km away from Fukushima. On the other hand, the distance between Fukuoka and Shanghai is 860km. The delegation appealed to the Chinese media stating “Kyushu is nearer to Shanghai than Fukushima”.
The delegation also emphasized how safe it is to travel to Kyushu by giving some facts. In all 7 prefectures of Kyushu, the tap water is inspected daily, and no radioactive substances like iodine and cesium have been detected. Further very low amounts of radioactive substances are detected in the atmosphere. Data was presented to emphasize the fact that the aftershocks of intensity level 6 experienced by the Tohoku region were not detected in Kyushu due to its geographical distance. By revealing this scientific data, Governor Nakamura urged the people saying “Do visit Kyushu. It is safer than ever.”
This approach of Kyushu might cause a feeling of discomfort among some people. Residents around the nuclear plant are still fighting with the invisible radiation. Running behind money-making for oneself when the fellow countrymen are suffering, may also be criticized as a ‘self-centered’ act. Even those involved seem to have had internal conflicts initially. It was however finally decided to promote one's strength.