I refer to “a shrinking society” as a society where the size of population and/or economy is decreasing. In the first half of this paper, I discuss whether Japanese society is shrinking or not and whether a shrinking society is unexpected and unavoidable disaster for Japan or not.
The total population of Japan began to decrease in 2005. However, I do not think it is unexpected crisis. First, the total fertility rate has been below the replacement level since the 1970s. Second, it is estimated the future speed of decrease is not so fast. Third, many Japanese municipalities have already experienced the shrinking population.
It is thought that the population shrinking will result in economic decline. However, Japanese society can utilize the female labor force and we can also expect the increase of productivity in future.
In the latter half of this paper, I will discuss the relation between sociology and social welfare in “a shrinking society”. The study of social welfare in Japan has several characteristics. First, there is the dichotomy of policy and practice that means social work. Second, the practice takes precedence over all other things. Third, genba that means those who are doing the actual work has priority. Fourth, it is classifiedaccording to the category of clients. In the study of social welfare, chiiki-fukushi, community-based welfare is closely related to sociology, especially community studies. Recently chiiki-fukushi has become the mainstream in the world of social welfare in Japan because of social changes.
Sociology can contribute to both policy and practice of chiiki-fukushi by theoretical elaboration of the concept of community. Empirical researches of sociology, for example, social support, social capital, citizen participation and so on, can also contribute to the practice of chiiki-fukushi. It is expected that they will provide evidences for policy-making of chiiki-fukushi.
Currently Japan is entering into the era of “shrinking society” after the long postwar economic development. It is still unclear how and to what extent such a turn will bring about changes in local society, but the concept of “shrinking” certainly stands at the center of current political debates, and begins to mobilize a variety of related actors by arousing a feeling of coming crisis. This article considers functions and mechanisms of “scale” narratives, such as shrinking, and, to do so, takes “overpopulation” problem in the 1950s as a symbolic and illustrative example. About a half century ago, this reverse view to the land once prevailed over the country in Japan. Losing vast territory in overseas colonies after the defeat of the World War II, Japan was obliged to manage more dense population on narrower land of archipelagos. Therefore Japanese Government emphasized overpopulation as an acute problem to be tackled, and tried to start development-oriented policies at a national level. And this must be accompanied with participation of ordinary citizens at a local level, so various cultural and educational settings for local mobilization were established, particularly by using the concept of overpopulation as a scale narrative. This article investigates these processes and consequences, focusing on two examples; one is Industrial Development Youth Corps, the other is an attempt of development education in Hokkaido University. At last, a historical transition from overpopulation to shrinking society in postwar Japan is summarized and discussed.
This paper aims to clarify and to seek solutions to the problem of regional Japan where the population and the economies are shrinking.
After the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy hit the finances of local governments, new leaders elnerged with the broad support of nonaligned voters in local politics. HASHIMOTO Daijiro, who became the Kochi governor, having beaten the candidate of established political parties in 1991, was first new leader. They were called “independent reform-minded governors” because they opposed the conventional growth policy dependent on allocations for public works projects and attempted to break away from the 1955 regime dominated by the Liberal Democratic Party. Under the 1955 regime the Japanese government tried to reduce the economic gap between urban and rural areas by concentrating public investment in the rural areas and local governments targeted economic affluence though the public work projects that linked government subsides. This regime deeply relied on constant econolnic growth, especially on the growth of urban areas but the regime collapsed after the bubble economy. Then, how can the regional society be sustained without the fiscal support of Japanese government?
This paper will explore the possibilities of the regions to survive in the time of shrinking society by analyzing the policies of TANAKA Yasuo who was the Nagano Prefectural Governor from 2000 to 2006. Although he could not realize these new policies and he was finally defeated in the election, his slogans such as “No Dam Proclamation”, “Post-Materialism” and “Commons” introduced the new values of the shrinking society. One of his unique achievements was to try to avoid the gap between urban and rural societies. This is the reason why Tanaka was supported by people in the urban as well as the rural areas. It contrasted with other independent reform-minded governors who enjoyed more support in the urban areas than rural areas. Tanaka’s policies consisted of two points. Firstly, he promoted agriculture and tourism to reactivate agricultural villages by commodifying agricultural villages. Secondly, he attempted to bridge different interest groups and create “Commons” by dissolving traditional communities and providing a system of citizens' participation.
This study examines the changes in a regional community, in the context of the Tama New Town (NT) development project, with regard to the space that mediates between political and economic structures and residents’ lives. Hence, we tried to reconsider the development project. We focused on (1) the proposal to purchase all the land in the project area based on ‘The New Residential Town Development Law’, (2) the policy of recruiting retired farmers, (3) the land readjustment project and (4) the stoppage of residential construction, which resulted in a dispute between administrative machineries.
We examined the life of a farmer, who had retired from farming and had become a shopkeeper in the NT shopping district. He changed his position from that of an opponent to the development to that of an agent between the developers and the local community. The construction of this NT was halted from 1971 to 1974. Although this affected the shopkeepers’ lives, the Japan Housing Corporation did not compensate them for their losses. Thereafter, the development agencies formulated certain policies that were disadvantageous for their shopping district. Shopkeepers struggled to retain their shops using many political means; however, they were forced to shut them down. The shopkeeper said, ‘This experimental city has been constructed over the sacrifice of farmers.
Plan and Reality of Local Development (1965) found that the development of ‘New Industrial Cities’ deprived farmers of their land, dissolved their community, and was built at the cost of their lives. Further, the industrial cities caused a lot of pollution and a shortage of housing—typical urban crises. Thus, the Japanese NT was merely ‘New Cultural Cities’ developed as yet another attempt towards concealing these contradictions of capitalism, and it reproduced the national labour-power appropriately. However, it also deprived farmers of land and dissolved their community.
This article aims to analyze the meaning and functions of transnational relative networks of migrant women and their brother/sister relations, mainly from a life history interview with a Philippine woman working in Tokyo named “A” who has ten brothers and sisters.
The purpose of this paper is as follows. Firstly, it is to uncover the background and process of career progression of migrant domestic workers. Secondly, it is to clarify the situation of migrant women in the workplace and daily life. Consequently, I explain the circumstances of the mobility of the international labor force led by women. This theme is examined from three aspects: a Philippine woman’s life history, work and life, and transnational relative networks.
“A”’s life history can be briefly summarized as follows. After graduating from a college in the Philippines, she came to Japan via Singapore as a maid at first and then found a clerical job. She has been employed as a clerical worker in a trading company for more than ten years now and has built up her career by her own strength and determination.
After obtaining a working visa, she called her husband in the Philippines, and asked him to join her in Japan. While she has been working as a permanent staff member, she has been bringing up her son as well. Initially, her mother, elder sister, and husband in the Philippines brought him up until he was one and a half years old.
“A”’s transnational network of relatives has expanded with the migration of her sisters to Japan and Canada. This transnational network and her Philippine relatives, have assisted in her career progression and made the hardship of living in Tokyo more bearable.
In this paper, I clarify two aspects of “Ethnoscape”(Appadurai: 1996). The first aspect is about a migrant woman’s life as a whole, moving social classes by changing job in spite of the double discrimination of gender and ethnicity. The second aspect is the transnational relative networks of migrant workers who help each other financially and with daily care. In the process of globalization, it is clear that transnational networks are essential for migrant women to obtain “information” and “security” to live with.
How will the community activities, which occur voluntarily from community inhabitants, occur in the present age? And how will such activities continue and grow up independently? In addition, what kind of modern significance are the social effects to occur as a result of the activities going to bring the community? By this paper, I try the elucidation of such questions in a case study of "OKAGEMATURI" in Miyakonojo city, Miyazaki prefecture.
“OKAGEMATURI” is a festival begun in 1993, held at Kanbasira Shrine which is a general local deity of Miyakonojo by a schedule of two days July 8 and 9th. The decisive factors, by which this community activity grew up for the start period, were the presentation with directionality of a model of activity, the consistent posture of the leader, the process that local people sublimated to one's thing with the directionality, and the secession from narrow area characteristics/an economic orientation of a shopping district.
And the next action of this activity was the grope that raised the quality of the festival. It was the improvement of the contents of sacred rites in itself and construction of the internal structure. As a result, this festival got evaluation and recognition from spectators and mass communication. In addition, a social education system built in the process made with this structure was recognized, and participants increased.
By the way, I want to nominate three points for the modern signifiance that I can extract from this case study. The first is importance of “the directionality of the model of the community”. The second is the possibility that a community solves the problem that home and school and company are shaken as the reversion subject. The third is resistance of the communities for the economic anomie.
In the late 1990s and the early 2000s in Japan, nationwide state-led municipal mergers (Heisei no daigappei) have been carried out, and at the same time, a drastic shift from a pattern of traditional local government constructed in the postwar era toward a new model of local governance by partnership with public and civil/nonprofit sectors has occurred. This article will examine the institutional conditions necessary for this new local governance to work effectively, focusing on the case of one rural area, Yasuzuka in Niigata, where a smaller municipality, Yasuzuka town, was merged with a larger one, Joetsu city, in 2005.
A number of new institutions of governance have emerged since the merger and abolition of the municipality. One of these is the “Local Committee (Chiiki kyogikai, hereafter, LC)” set up in order to facilitate the residents’ decisions. “Complimentary Municipal Nonprofit Organization (jichitai-daitai-gata NPO, hereafter, CMNO)” comprised of the residents and former municipal officials responsible for public service supply, such as welfare services for the aged. The LC and the CMNO are functionally similar to the municipal congress (or council) and administrative office.
Some may argue that both the LC and the CMNO have not had enough control over budget planning or human resource mobilization compared with the former municipal congress (council) and administrative office. However, the LC in this case has introduced a quasi-electoral system for local political decision making. And the CMNO has the capacity to steer and coordinate various local actors for public service supply.In the recent debate on governance theory, some scholars insist that effective governance requires not only the capacity for efficient public service supply, but also democratic institutions for appropriate decision making and accountability which legitimate the governance activity itself. Therefore, we will suggest that new forms of Japanese local governance can work more effectively when both LC and CMNO are formed, and when, as seen in our case study, institutional networks between LC and CMNO are created.
A national policy known as the “Great Municipal Merger of the Heisei Period” has been promoted as part of efforts toward administrative and financial reforms in Japan’s central and local governments, arousing criticism due to the element of control by the national government. However, the logic of this Heisei municipal consolidation is not always applied straightforwardly at the municipal (local community) level. This paper examines how some municipalities have successfully survived proposition of the Heisei municipal consolidation and improved their self-governing capabilities to pursue local autonomy, with a focus on Takagi village in Nagano Prefecture.
Takagi village initially joined meetings proposing a merger with Iida City and other neighboring municipalities. The villagers, however, became increasingly determined to pursue local autonomy without a merger, following the setting up of many citizen groups and study meetings by local residents. As a result of a local referendum on the merger, Takagi village decided to follow the path of local autonomy.
There are two notable points when the efforts of local residents to create an autonomous village are viewed from a historical perspective in the community system, which is represented by the hierarchy consisting of the central government, municipalities and local communities. First, Takagi village achieved a transition to become a stronghold for the autonomy of local people, through the process of reviewing its own growth system under the national policy of Heisei municipal consolidation. Second, a bottom-up community system was established, with local communities, which are interconnected through a village administration, as a basic unit of an autonomous village. The efforts to achieve local autonomy by creating a bottom-up local community system are now developing into the promotion of extensive and multilayered relationships, such as the development of supporter networks and cooperation with neighboring municipalities.
As shown in the historical process followed by Takagi village, a sustainable local community can be created in intermediate and mountainous areas by steady efforts toward local autonomy.