The rapid economic growth of Japan in the postwar period has brought about the over-concentration of activities in a few large cities, and local regions have been losing their economic vitality due to the regional differentials and the population loss. Regional development planning in Japan has sought to achieve a balanced growth of the nation through the development of industries in local regions. This paper aims to examine the regional structure of manufacturing industries in the postwar period and to
identify its current problems. Three methods, namely the analysis of coefficient of variation, the rateshare analysis and the shift-share analysis are applied using employment data of manufacturing industries for the years 1955 to 1985. Findings show that while the employment of manufacturing industries has been markedly decentralized from metropolitan to local regions, the disparities in growth rates still exist among regions.