25 Years On: Kobe Medical Hub Grows to Japan's Largest

Economy Science Technology

Kobe, Jan. 16 (Jiji Press)--A medical research hub built as part of reconstruction efforts after the 1995 Kobe earthquake in western Japan has grown into Japan's largest cluster of medical facilities and businesses.

The Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster (KBIC), located on the manmade Port Island in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, was launched in 1998 with the goal of "protecting lives."

On Jan. 17 three years earlier, the area was hit by the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which registered the maximum 7 on Japan's seismic intensity scale for the first time. A total of 6,434 people were killed in and around Hyogo.

The cluster, initially called the Kobe Medical Industry Development Project, was part of efforts to revitalize Kobe by inviting a new industry to take root, at a time when many companies were relocating away from the disaster-damaged port city.

The project picked up steam after the government-affiliated research institute Riken set up a research and development center for regenerative medicine on the island in 2000.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press