Tsumago-juku is an old post town along Nakasenndo in Nagano Prefecture and the pioneer of historical village preservation in Japan. In 1971, after the completion of a memorial project marking the 100th anniversary of Meiji, the residents of Tsumago-juku established a Residents' Charter in an attempt to protect the town's historical buildings, their surrounding natural environment, and residents' lives from both internal and external risks(Fig. 1).
At first, the Residents' Charter was not legally binding; however, in 1973, the local government of Nagiso Town passed a municipal ordinance for the preservation of Tsumago-juku (1st legislation). Such an advanced step for the preservation of historical buildings and their surroundings helped initiate the establishment of preservation districts for groups of historic buildings (hereinafter, the Denken policy) in 1975. In 1976, Tsumago-juku, along with six other districts, was designated as cultural property under the Denken policy (2nd legislation).
This paper elucidates the two-stage legislation process of the Residents' Charter by procuring and analyzing the minutes of the local assembly and the Council for the Preservation of Tsumago-juku. Moreover, it also considers the significance and limitations of the legislation of the voluntary rule, the relationship between the Residents' Charter and legislation, and the conceivable actions of the local community.
The 1st legislation process of the Residents' Charter involved the following four main points: the significance of the legislation of the Residents' Charter, publicness of Tsumago-juku and its relation with other areas, property rights of residents, and residents' agreement (Table1). Tsumago-juku used a comprehensive perspective to address these points and limited the legislation to a single phrase: “We won't destroy.” They also emphasized the necessity of rigorous maintenance of the Residents' Charter and considered systems such as a special account for paid parking for balance adjustment between areas, especially between Tsumago and other areas. On the 2nd legislation process, discussion was concentrated on the area for preservation and practicable adjustments of the operation mechanism between local circumstances and national rules.
The legislation guaranteed the preservation of Tsumago-juku by making it a part of ongoing preservation projects. Besides, it allowed for the reevaluation of the characteristics of Tsumago-juku under different frameworks concerning its publicness. However, compromises were made on some points, such as the area for preservation(Fig3.→Fig. 4→Fig. 6) and changes to be implementation(Fig. 2→Fig. 5). To put it differently, the legislation became a limited tool for the local community, and realizing this, they formulated local systems such as a Control Committee and thought up other measures (Table2 and Fig. 7). Thus, they succeeded in developing a comprehensive system to satisfy the requirements mandated by the Residents' Charter.