“Joshi-Ryoku” (Women’s Power & Sense) Boosts Fukuoka City’s Land Prices

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The proposed commercial building site where Marui will open up a store (left), and JR Hakata City (right)

The proposed commercial building site where Marui will open up a store (left), and JR Hakata City (right).

Marui Group Moves into Hakata

The Marui Group plans to open up a store in the spring of 2016 in a commercial building next to JR Hakata Station. The structure is to be redeveloped by Japan Post. Prior to the opening of Kyushu Shinkansen (bullet train) in March 2011, the area surrounding JR Hakata Station was merely a business district. However, since the opening of the popular department stores Hakata Hankyu and Tokyu Hands at the “JR Hakata City” station building, which started up at the same time as the launch of the Shinkansen, the land prices have consistently increased. Moreover, a survey conducted in July showed that the land price of Toko 2-chome, Hakata-ku (near Hakata Station) rose 7.4% from the previous year, capturing the top appreciation ratio among commercial land in Fukuoka City.

Investment Seminar Gains Popularity Among Women

“Joshi-ryoku” is also gaining strength in the real-estate industry. According to En Co., Ltd., the largest local distributor of investment condominiums (based in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City), since 2013 more women have participated in the company’s monthly condominium-management seminars for investors. Currently, almost 30% of the participants are women. The company even held a women-only seminar in spring of the same year. Women account for 55% of the tenants in the company’s condominium, and 87% of them are in their twenties or thirties, partly due to the condominium’s refined design and high-security system.

Recently, the company launched sales of family-type condominiums. “We’ve seen a better-than-expected start for one-bedroom condominium apartments for single women built on the same property,” said Mr. Takahashi, the director of the company.

An Enhanced Environment for Childcare Is a Challenge

The presence of more females (as residents in a given city or region) could bring negative aspects, such as a high ratio of unmarried women. The percentage of unmarried women in their thirties in Fukuoka City is 35.9%, the highest of all major urban areas nationwide. With the aging population, consumer spending is more likely to dwindle if the ratio of unmarried women remains high. It isn’t easy to lower the unmarried ratio. However, said Mr. Aoki, a section manager, “The establishment of better childcare environment by eliminating the waiting lists for preschools and setting up more kid-friendly facilities is one way to solve this type of problem.”

In April 2014, the fifth “Anpanman (a popular Japanese animation character) Museum” in Japan will open within the “Hakata Riverain eeny meeny miny mo” commercial complex in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City. The emergence of more such facilities may be considered the way to successfully maintain the “Joshi-ryoku” in Fukuoka City.

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