Kansai Science City (関西文化学術研究都市)

Kansai Science City (to be referred to as Science city in the following) was constructed to promote creative academic and research activities as well as creating/dispatching of new industries and culture. Located on the Keihanna hill across the borders of Osaka Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture and Nara Prefecture, the city aims at becoming the center of new industries and culture. It is also called "Science City" and is nicknamed "Keihanna Science City."

Start and history

The construction of the city was largely grounded in a proposal, "Kansai Science City Surveillance Conversazione," by Azuma OKUDA, professor emeritus of Kyoto University, (so-called Okuda Conversazione). He stated that the reason for his proposal lay in the fact that "I was deeply impressed by 'The Limits to Growth; A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind', a research report by Club of Rome."

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism define construction of the Science City as 'strengthening cooperation among industries, government offices and academic institutes while promoting international, interdisciplinary and inter-industrial exchange of culture, science and research.'
In the Science City, cultural and academic research zones are designated as areas where facilities centered on basic research are to be constructed, and development is underway (areas other than the cultural and academic research zones are called peripheral areas). The inauguration of the science city' was held in 1994.

Although construction of the Science City started during the bubble, it has continued to this day without plans for cancellation. However, a housing land development plan in the Kizu area was cancelled in 2003. This was the first case in which a development plan was cancelled. In addition, major companies closed their research laboratories in some areas; vacant lots are conspicuous in other areas where facilities are no longer found, and some other areas are now being considered to be used as land for building houses instead of scientific facilities. In addition, Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. withdrew its activities from the city in 2002, and Bayer AG and Canon followed suite in 2004. Sluggish demand, and an ongoing recession were named as the main culprits resulting in the modified plan. Furthermore, it is also said that private companies shifted their focus from basic research to research and development. However, it is also undeniable that the research conducted in Science City has produced results, and no drastic modification of the original plan has been announced yet.

Since 2005, business has been recovering, with restrictions on the facility construction sites eased, resulting in an increasing number of companies advancing in to the city; the total number of facilities built so far, including cultural facilities numbered more than 100 during the fiscal year 2007.

Initially, it was planned that people working in the city would also be able to live there, but in reality, commuters to Osaka City or Kyoto City are on the rise, resulting in a bedroom community for both cities. As of April of 2007, the population of the city is approx. 230,000 (compared with 410,000 that was planned), and that of the cultural and academic research zones is approx. 80,000 (compared with 210,000 that was planned).

History
September, 1978: 'Kansai Science City Surveillance Conversazione' (so-called Okuda Conversazione) was inaugurated. The chairman was Azuma OKUDA, professor emeritus of Kyoto University.

November, 1978: 'A basic plan for the development of the Kinki region (the third plan),' in which the construction of Science City was included, was decided.

April, 1979: National Land Agency (present Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) started an investigation for compiling a basic concept for constructing a science city on the Keihanna hill.

June, 1982: National Land Agency announced 'A basic concept for constructing a science city' (a pilot plan) based on an investigation from fiscal year 1979 to fiscal year 1981. With the location of the city decided as a hill area across the borders of Osaka Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture and Nara Prefecture, the basic concept for the construction of the Science City was in place.

March, 1983: 'Kansai Science City Construction Promotion Conference' was inaugurated, with the governors of the three prefectures, chairman of Kansai Economic Federation and some academic experts.

February, 1984: Nara Prefecture announced 'A basic policy of Nara Prefecture for Kansai Science City.'

April, 1984: Kyoto Prefecture announced 'A basic policy for constructing Kansai Science City (for its area in Kyoto Prefecture).'

July, 1984: The ministries concerned announced 'An investigation for compiling a plan for comprehensive development of the Keihanna area,' based on the investigation in fiscal year 1982 to fiscal year 1983.

March, 1985: Osaka Prefecture announced 'A basic policy of Osaka Prefecture for constructing Kansai Science City.'

September, 1985: 'The liaison and adjustment meeting of the ministries concerned with Kansai Science City' by the ministries concerned was inaugurated.

June, 1986: 'Kansai Research Institute' was established.

June, 1986: National Land Agency compiled 'Basic policy on the constructions of Kansai Science City' approved by 'the liaison and adjustment meeting of the ministries concerned with Kansai Science City.'

September, 1986: 'The diet member confederation for promoting the construction of Kansai Science City' was inaugurated.

June, 1987: 'The construction promotion law for Kansai Science City' was announced and enforced. The plan was given status as that of a national project.

October, 1987: The Science City area was decided.

October, 1987: 'Basic policy on the construction of Kansai Science City' was decided based on the construction promotion law for Kansai Science City.

March, 1988: The construction plan for each of the three prefectures was approved.

April, 1988: 'The office for promoting the construction of Kansai Science City' was established in National Land Agency.

June, 1988: People started moving into houses built in the Kizugawadai housing area.

October, 1988: Keinawa Expressway opened (between Joyo and Tanabe Nishi (west)).

April, 1989: Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) opened as a core research laboratory in a so-called third-sector system.

September, 1990: The high-touch research park opened.

April, 1991: The construction of Midorinobunkaen ("green culture park" literally) was completed.

December, 1991: Keinawa Expressway was extended (between Tanabe Nishi and Seika Shimokoma).

March, 1993: Keinawa Expressway was extended (between Seika Shimokoma and Yamada-gawa).

April, 1993: Keihanna Plaza, a facility for promoting cultural/academic exchange, opened.

September, 1994: 'Keihanna Science City festival '94' was held (until November)

October, 1994: "The inauguration of the science city" was held.

April, 1995: Use of Keihanna Commemorative Park (the Kyoto-prefectural park commemorating the establishment of Kansai Science City) started.

May, 1998: 'Aiming at realizing the second stage' was announced.

December, 1998: The former Heijo-kyo Capital site was registered as a world heritage site.

April, 1999: Azuma OKUDA, professor emeritus of Kyoto University, died.

April, 2000: Keinawa Expressway was extended (between Yamada-gawa and Kizu), completing the construction of the road in Kyoto Prefecture.

October, 2000: The construction of the Kintetsu Keihanna Line started.

January, 2001: Corresponding to the reorganization of the ministries and agencies of the central governments, the affiliation of 'the office for promoting the construction of Kansai Science City' changed from National Land Agency to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

March, 2002: The work to move JR Miyamaki Station to an elevated location was completed. October, 2002: Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library opened.

March, 2003: Dainikeihan-doro (the second Keihan road) opened (between Ogura-ike and Hirakata Higashi (east)).

March, 2003: The construction of the Vocational Museum promoted by Employment and Human Resources Development Organization of Japan was completed and opened.

April, 2003: Science City was certified as 'a special intellectual district of the Keihanna science city' (a special district for structural reform).

May, 2004: The ecology research laboratory of Canon (located in the Seika and Nishikizu district) was closed and moved to another site. The laboratory was acquired by Doshisha University in 2006.

July, 2004: The work to move Miyamaki Station on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line to an elevated location was completed (only in the direction for Kyoto).

November, 2004: It was decided that Ion Engineering Research Institute Corporation, a so-called third-sector company (located in the Himuro and Tsuda district), would be dissolved.

January, 2005: It was decided that the official name of the new Keihanna line of Kintetsu would be Keihanna Line.

July, 2005: Science City was certified as 'a special district for robots.'

March, 2006: The Keihanna Line of Kintetsu started operation (between Ikoma and Gakken Nara Tomigaoka).

May, 2007: Sun Town Plaza Kosumosu-kan (cosmos hall) (Aeon Takanohara Shopping Center) opened in Sun Town Takanohara in front of Takanohara Station on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line.

Geographical aspects
Location and scale
It is located on a hill covering eight cities or towns of the three prefectures, Osaka Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture and Nara Prefecture (refer to the following). The entire area of Seika-cho is included in Science City.

The total land space is 15,000 ha, of which the cultural and academic research zones occupy approx. 3.600 ha. The planned population is approx. 410,000. Tsukuba Science City, also a science-based city, is located within a city, but Kansai Science City is located across eight cities or towns of three prefectures, making is difficult to centrally control the twelve cultural and academic research zones and the peripheral area. It has been pointed out that such a situation has hampered development in the city.

Osaka Prefecture
Hirakata City
Katano City
Shijonawate City
Kyoto Prefecture
Kyotanabe City
Soraku-gun
Seika-cho
Kizugawa City
Nara Prefecture
Ikoma City
Nara City

Transportation
General national toll roads dedicated for vehicle use
The second Keihan road
Keinawa Expressway

Railroads
West Japan Railway Company
Katamachi Line
Yamatoji Line
Nara Line
Kintetsu Railways
Kintetsu Nara Line
Kintetsu Kyoto Line
Kintetsu Keihanna Line

Buses
Buses operated by Nara Kotsu Bus Lines Co., Ltd
Buses operated by Keihan Bus Co., Ltd.
Community buses operated by Shijonawate City

The construction promotion law for Kansai Science City
It was proclaimed and enforced on June 9, 1987.
The points of the law are as follows:

Science City indicates the prime minister-designated areas in Hirakata City, Katano City and Shijonawate City of Osaka Prefecture, in Kyotanabe City, Seika-cho and Kizu-cho of Kyoto Prefecture and in Ikoma City and Nara City of Nara Prefecture.

A cultural and academic research zone indicates the area that is included in the construction plans compiled by the prefectural governors concerned and where public facilities, facilities for public benefits and housing facilities are to be constructed in addition to scientific research facilities and facilities for promoting exchange of scientific researches.

A peripheral area indicates an area that is other than the cultural and academic research zones and where facilities related to the maintenance of the facilities constructed in the cultural and academic research zones are to be developed and the natural environments are to be preserved.

Minister of land, infrastructure and transportation must compile and decide the basic construction policy, while the prefectural governors concerned must compile and decide the construction plans.

The national and local public bodies concerned must endeavor to raise funds necessary for constructing Science City.

The government must take measures favorable towards the place, for example, preferential tax treatment.

The cultural and academic research zones
Twelve cultural and academic research zones are designated for Science City. Of them, no action has been taken as yet for the Fugenji area (around Kyotanabe City of Kyoto Prefecture) and the Kitatahara district (around Ikoma City of Nara Prefecture). As of 2007, approx. 100 research and other facilities have been constructed.

The Himuro/Tsuda district
Location: Hirakata City, Osaka Prefecture
Land space: 65 ha (it is planned to expand the area of the zone.)
Major facilities
Kansai Gaidai University (Hotani Campus)
Institute of Free Electron Laser, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
Ion Engineering Research Institute Corporation

The Kiyotaki and Muroike district
Location: Shijonawate City, Osaka Prefecture
Land space: 340 ha
Major facilities
Osaka Electro-Communication University (Shijonawate Campus)
Midorinobunkaen ("green culture park" literally)

The Tahara district
Location: Shijonawate City, Osaka Prefecture
Land space: 127 ha
Major facilities
The West Japan training center for Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. The headquarters and a training center for Japan Speed Shore Co., LTD.

The Tanabe district
Location: Kyotanabe City, Kyoto Prefecture
Land space: 100 ha
Major facilities
Doshisha University (Kyotanabe Campus)
Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts (Kyotanabe Campus)

The Minamitanabe and Hakuta district
Location: Seika-cho and Kyotanabe City, Kyoto Prefecture
Land space: 338 ha
Major facilities
The agricultural department of Kyoto Prefectural University farmland
The Kyoto Prefectural agricultural resource research center
The Kyoto flower center
Wel Sunpia Kyoto (a holiday center in Kyoto for the members of employees' pension)

The Seika and Nishi-Kizu district
Location: Seika-cho and Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture
Land space: 506 ha
Major facilities
Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library
Dynamic Tools Corporation
Keihanna Commemorative Park (the Kyoto-prefectural park commemorating the establishment of Kansai Science City)
International Institute for Advanced Studies
Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth
National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Keihanna Info-Communication Open Laboratory and Knowledge Creating Communication Research Center
The Vocational Museum
The Okawa center of the Okawa Foundation for Information and Telecommunications (by Isao OKAWA, the founder of CSK Holdings)
The Keihanna Plaza
Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR)
Technology Research Laboratory, Shimadzu Corporation
The central research laboratory of Kyocera Corporation
The advanced technology research laboratory of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
NTT Communication Science Laboratories, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Keihanna Innovation Center, Omron
The Keihanna information technology research laboratory of Wescom
Doshisha University (Gakkentoshi Campus)
The U-town Keihanna shopping center

The Kizu district
Location: Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture
Land space: 740 ha
Major facilities
Advanced Photon Research Center, Kansai Research Establishment, Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute
The Rohto research village in Kyoto, Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

The Heijo and Soraku district
Location: Seika-cho and Kizugawa City of Kyoto Prefecture and Nara City of Nara Prefecture
Land space: 626 ha
Major facilities
(Facilities across the two prefectures)
Sun Town Takanohara

(On the Kyoto Prefecture side)
The high-touch research park
The KYOTO KAGAKU development center of Kyoto Kagaku Co., Ltd. Comprehensive Housing R & D Institute, Sekisui House Ltd. The high-touch research laboratory of Kuroi Electric Co., Ltd.
The Kyoto research laboratory of Kinden Corporation
The training and development center of PHP Research Institute, Inc. The Nijo Maruhachi ceremony research laboratory of Nijo Maruhachi Co., Ltd.
JEUGIA ecole, JEUGIA
The Fujiya HR center of Fujiya Co., Ltd.
The Fukujuen CHA research center of Fukujuen
The Yoshichu information center of Yoshichu Mannequin Co., Ltd. The Watabun home furnishing research laboratory of Watabun Co., Ltd.
(On the Nara Prefecture side)
The Narayama research park
Nanto Economic Research Institute
The Narayama research laboratory of Icom Inc. The Narayama research laboratory of Nitta Co.
Daiwa House Industry Central Research Laboratory
The Narayama research laboratory of Mikasa Industry Co., Ltd. Menyukan, Miwa-Somen Yamamoto Co., Ltd.
Nara University
The Sahodai residential district

The Takayama district
Location: Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture
Land space: 333 ha
Major facilities
Nara Institute of Science and Technology
The Takayama science plaza
The Ikoma test institute of Kansai Electronic Industry Development Center
Kansai Research Laboratory, NEC Corporation
The Nara research and development center of Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

The Heijokyuato (former Heijo-kyo Capital site) district
Location: Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture
Land space: 142 ha
Major facilities
Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
The former Heijo-kyu Palace site