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Revitalizing local communities will lead to a better future for Japan. (STORY 2 Support for Small Businesses and Promotion of Local Attractions)

Aretha is a zakka (miscellaneous goods) shop in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. The proprietor, who "loves zakka and other knick-knacks," says that Air Regi "has been a huge help with managing inventory, because zakka shops have to stock a large, detailed range of items."

■ Energizing local communities by supporting SMEs

Japan has some 3,809,000 SMEs across the country.*1 Since large corporations are concentrated in the country's urban hubs, SMEs play a major economic and employment role in local areas. These areas are likely to be hardest hit by the decline in the workforce, which is expected to drop from the 2014 level of 65.87 million to around 58 million by 2030 as a result of the falling birthrate and aging population.*2 We see a sharp contrast between the country's urban hubs, where the concentration of people is continuing to increase, and local areas elsewhere around the country, where population is shrinking at an accelerating pace.
Supporting the activities of SMEs, which make up the bulk of Japan's businesses, can energize local economies by generating local attractions and increasing the flow of people. We see this as one way of promoting a brighter future for Japan.

1 Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, 2016 White Paper on Small and Medium Enterprises in Japan.
2 Extracted from the estimates for each prefecture based on the new nationwide statistics for fiscal 2015 labor force supply and demand from the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training.

■ Using IT to help businesses thrive

The Air Regi POS register app and other offerings in our Air Series help make it possible for people of all sorts to set up businesses on a scale appropriate to their location and to keep their businesses going. By using the Air Series, individuals running their own stores or seeking to promote businesses in local areas can easily̶and at no initial cost̶tap the power of information technology to achieve improved management and operating efficiency. By easing the administrative burden and lowering costs, the Air Series allows business owners to channel their energy toward their original focus, such as providing customers with optimal hospitality.
"After comparing several POS register apps, I chose Air Regi because of its easy-to-use screen layout and customizable features. The software can recognize and analyze how each item is selling during a particular month or day or at a particular time. This is valuable information when it comes to creating new products." (Brewer, Gifu Prefecture)
"The data on reservations made via Air Reserve is directly linked to Air Regi for our accounting records. In tandem with this, I use accounting software, and everything is processed in a unified flow. When I first starting using the app, I had some trouble figuring out all the features on my own, but staff offered me a clear explanation over the phone so that now I have no problems." (Acupuncture clinic, Tokyo)

■ Drawing people with local attractions

Once a small business rooted in a local area has been created, it needs to draw customers. Our Jalan service, which aims to attract domestic and international tourists as customers, is relying on its Jalan Research Center, which conducts surveys and research and promotes regional revitalization, to support the creation of arrangements to attract younger people to local areas through the Majibu platform for supporting youth activities. For example, Snow Magic 19 is attracting young customers to ski slopes around the country and thereby stimulating local economies by offering 19-year-olds free ski-lift passes. When these young people have children of their own, they may bring them along on repeat visits, drawing the next generation to these same areas.
The first step is to make people aware of the area and experience it themselves. Starting from that point, we are striving to help local areas maximize their attractions through initiatives with a view to future economic vitality.

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