Target Specific Industries, Says Japanese Report

Article excerpt

Oklahoma needs to target specific industries, such as electronic parts and equipment and computers, in its efforts to attr act overseas and out-of-state firms, according to a summary of a Japanese government agency's report, obtained Wednesday by The Journal Record.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, a branch of the Japanese government, provided Gov. George Nigh with Japanese and English summaries of the report during his recent 16-day trade mission to Japan.

Nigh is scheduled to brief the press at 2 p.m. today on the results of his Japanese trade mission, which he cut short Tuesday to warn an industrial trust - reactivated in his absence by Lt. Gov. Spencer Bernard - that it should not take any action.

"With the Telex Computer assembly plant and the AT&T communications equipment plant already in the state, a foundation for future growth is in place," the report said.

"Finally, Hitachi's decision to manufacture magnetic disk drives for computers heralds Oklahoma's future as a location for Japanese industry in this field," the report said.

The $9 million Hitachi plant, now under construction in Norman, is expected to be operating next year.

The problem with Oklahoma's economic development strategy so far, the Japanese trade agency reported, is that it has not been focused on a particular industry or industrial group.

"Rather, all types of industry have been welcomed, and the manufacturing base has become diversified.

"However," the report continued, "since there is not yet a successor to the depressed oil industry, the state urgently needs to encourage the development of a new central industry."

"Especially amid the increasingly fierce competition among states, Oklahoma needs to select a target industry for its economic development program," the report said.

From an investors' viewpoint, two of Oklahoma's characteristics stand out, according to the Japanese report:

- Oklahoma's central location, and

- The lack of large consumer markets or industrial areas. …