Japan Association of Regional and Community Studies (JARCS) set its common issue for 2014 to 2016 as “the Grand Design of national spatial development and regional societies as livingspheres”. In the 40th symposium held in May 2015, we focused on regional areas and the disaster area of Great East Japan Earthquake, to which the topic of “selection and concentration” is most applicable.
The discussion of this symposium has a relation with the definition and evaluation of postcolonial developmentalism nations, and the transition of regional areas of East Asia. In 2014, the Japanese government proposed a national spatial development plan called “Grand Design 2050”. Regional societies as living-spheres of local people, however, have developed in their own way, resisting against this national spatial development plan. It is an unavoidable theme for regional and community studies to grasp the situation and relation of the government plan and the local people’s action, and unravel their historical and social meanings.
In this paper, first of all, I’ll consider the trends of regional policies ( Comprehensive National Development Plans ) in Japan, from a viewpoint of GD2050 announced in July, 2014. For this purpose, I place GD2050 among the trends of the past National Spatial Development in Japan and reconsider its continuity and shift. Until GD2050 was introduced, a principle of well-balanced national development had been maintained. The most important difference between the previous Comprehensive National Development Plan and GD2050 is that GD2050 introduces the regional distribution with differential basis rather than well-balanced regional development.
GD2050 gives a shock by predicting the two challenges facing Japan, namely, an unprecedented population decrease and natural disasters. In order to deal with them, it indicates as the prerequisite “selection and concentration,” “Compact and Networks”, “Building National Resilience.” This is, as it were, a Shock Doctrine by which the government introduces market fundamentalism, taking advantage of disastrous situations.
As an example of the cases that national regional policy like GD2050 influences the local community, I analyze Ooka-mura, which is in a mountainous area, merged into Nagano-shi in 2005. This area is a typical place which is not selected in GD2050. While intensive investment is carried out for some compact cities, management efficiency and marketization are pessured on other areas like Ooka-mura in order to secure financial resources for regional policy like GD2050. This kind of marketization of commons is an example of those pressures which breaks up cohesion of village communities.
The purpose of this article is to analyze the postwar history of Rikuzentakata’s coastal area from a diachronic viewpoint. After Japan’s high economic growth period, many local governments have had great difficulty in sustaining the capabilities of regional communities and their social order. The Japanese government has offered a Comprehensive National Land Development Plan and has forced local governments to try to achieve large-scale development and the attraction of industry. Moreover, the Rikuzentakata government formed a plan for regional development including reclamation of the Hirota Bay coastal area in 1970, but Hirota Bay fishermen and the residents of coastal Rikuzentakata opposed the plan. The result of the opposition movement was that the plan was put on hold and discussed for a long time.
At first, the people’s motivation in carrying out the opposition movement was to stop environmental pollution, but more fundamentally, they hoped to debate and give serious consideration to their own future through their own autonomous capabilities. They started to discuss how to develop the Rikuzentakata area with their own hands. Residents tried to maximize the value of their natural advantages, local foods and products, and organized events to attract visitors. By the early 2000s, the number of visitors was increasing little by little.
On March 11, 2011, the earthquake and tsunami brought enormous damage to Rikuzentakata. Five years have passed since then, and people have struggled step by step to rebuild their lives. They have resumed the traditional festival, opened makeshift stores and have tried to create a new community. On the other hand, the Japanese government has carried out the reconstruction policy through the use of a huge budget. Recently, several questions about the revitalization project have surfaced among the people because their hometown is set to change too rapidly. There may be the feeling that there is neither place nor time to discuss multiple ideas that differ from the national policy.
Twenty years have passed since Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake occurred. The results of the restoration projects from the damages are clarified by NHK research conducted in 2014. The author considers the new conception “disaster capitalism” proposed by Nomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine in 2007 is very important. Kobe city government had promoted City Management strategy before and after the Earthquake and it was truly “disaster capitalism”. It brought many scars of the damages and the inadequacy of the restoration through the capitalistic management activities.
The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Sendai in 2015 and the conceptions “disaster risk reduction” and “risk management” have been accentuated . The conception of risk management is based on three factors such as severity of damages, probability of disaster occurrence and cost-and-benefit. Therefore it cannot directly respond to the actual danger of disasters because of the mediational ideas of probability and cost-and-benefit. It also propels government centralization and impedes independent activities of habitants for disaster prevention.
Risk society produces many ideological words and assertions such as “public finance should not be applied to individual compensation”, “nuclear power plants are truly safe”, “self-responsibility” and “resilience”.
When we refer to Kanto Great Earthquake we find it was followed by tragic wars. The author is afraid that the legislation of military security has been now rapidly promoted by central government after Great East Japan Earthquake.
In regional and community studies, there have been many researches about communities in temporary housing since the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Sociologists, focusing on the period when disaster victims moved into prefab temporary housing, discussed the organization of tenants’ associations and support networks of volunteers. In contrast, they paid little attention to the development of these associations and networks. As the evacuation period is prolonged, victims not only live in temporary housing but also come to settle in the very area where it is located. This point seems to be lacking in existing sociological studies.
In the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, more than 52,000 prefab temporary housing units were built in three disaster-stricken Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefecture. The government of the day tried to move each disaster-hit community into each temporary housing complex in order to avoid harming pre-disaster neighborhood relationships. However, owing to the widespread evacuation, those who have different local backgrounds and various disaster situations separately moved into the same temporary housing especially in urban areas they flowed into. Moreover, such an organization policy from the government might have influence on their autonomous activities.
Based on the above, this paper takes up a temporary housing complex “Asuto Nagamachi Kasetsu Jutaku” in Sendai-City, which many victims separately moved into. In this complex, people met with some neighbor problems in the beginning, but worked out health support activities and made a proposal of disaster public housing with aid from nonprofit organizations and professional volunteers. This study focuses on the transformation of their life problems and support networks by four time periods: moving into temporary housing, making relationships between victims, doing autonomous activities, and moving from temporary housing.
After the East Japan Great Earthquake, recovery of infrastructure and industry is in progress. On the other hand, a problem about life and existence like earthquake-related stress, has occurred. From the previous experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995, supporters thought “working” as a way of preventing isolation. However, we should consider about characteristic of “working” in Tohoku area; the most of area was subsisted by primary industry. In this paper, we focus on especially the “working” of farmers in the coastal area.
Tamaura area, the coastal area in Iwanuma city, was attacked by the tsunami and residents were transferred by the reconstruction policy, so most of the famers gave up working. Some of the farmers, however, restarted agriculture. They were divided into two types. One type of farmers tried to incorporate the policy aims. The other type of famers restarted agriculture in their own way.
The latter was sustained by residences or private funders. This type of agriculture was small scale, so farmers received little benefit. Even so, there were two meanings for them. First, it is meant to rebuild relationships with others. Separated the people by refuge and move, farming together was a chance of reunion. Second, it is meant to exhibit their identities because they had been engaged in agriculture for the life. Therefore, we would define this type to “Agriculture as raison d’existence”.
After earthquake, life of the retired farmers was changed to “Nothing to do”—it means to lose everyday activities like working, meeting with people in the community. In this situation, “Agriculture as raison d’existence”, having the two meanings previously mentioned, would contribute to revitalization. To sustain life and existence of the sufferers affected by the earthquake, we would think the system of support for such type of working.
The objective of this paper is to clarify the particular organizational structure that enables youth participation in a local community through a case study of a volunteer group called Street Breakers whose work in Kashiwa-shi has resulted in young people joining activities to vitalise the city centre.
In recent years, multiple surveys have shown an increasing tendency among youth to remain in their home communities and it has been pointed out that this arises due to the importance that youth place upon close friendships with their peers.
From these findings, I point out a difficulty of the present situation. Even though the regional sociology indicates the importance of fostering “publicity” and “purposeful cooperation” in the local community, it remains difficult for young people to participate.
Based on observations on participation, it was confirmed that Street Breakers’ organizational structure consists of two different principal models: a hierarchical, and a network model which are fused together in a way that enables youth to participate in local activities.
The former is a top-down tree structure in which resources and power of authority are concentrated and given to the senior level of the organization who then set the aims of activities and encourage people’s heteronomous participation. The network model is a horizontal organizational structure which consists of participants who share a common purpose and values. They make a commitment to the organization independently and self-sustainingly.
Street Breakers creates rich dynamics in the network model of organization. However, it is supported by the hierarchical model when the principle of purposeful cooperation became unstable and delayed. In this way, youth can maintain their purposeful cooperation and be linked to various area resources although they needn’t devote themselves to intimacy with their peers.