Many local cities have been experiencing the decline of retail activities in the city center due to the rapid growth of shopping centers in the suburban area. The Japanese government has sought to tackle the problem by enacting a new law in July 1998. It aims to rehabilitate the attractiveness of city center with the joint measures of ministries and national agencies.
This paper examines the recent trends in the retail location and the shopping behavior of residents in Okayama City. The city has the population of more than one million in its metropolitan area, and has ranked a major growth center in Japanese local regions. However, its city center has been suffering a decline of population and retail activities under the rapid urbanization and the motorization. The study has revealed the massive growth of suburban shopping centers and the transfer of shopping activities from the city center to the suburbs during 1982 to 1994. The trend corresponded to the rapid growth of shopping activities by car. The fact-findings of the study have suggested the importance of comprehensive measures to integrate the retail location and the transport systems in the city.