In Japan, serious news that foreign companies have purchased watershed-protected forests has become widely known as a social issue. Consequently, many prefectures are now hurriedly designing Water Source Area Conservation Regulations （WSACR） in response to many concerned foresters who demand legal measures, not because of actual overexploitation but because of the potential risks. These WSACRs require all new owners to submit a plan for buying and using forested areas before completion of a land sale to supplement the revised forest act, which imposes a duty ex post facto to apply for a sale. In fact, no detailed report yet exists regarding the policymaking process of WSACR and situations for WSACR applications.
Based on the experiences in Hokkaido with regard to the acquisition of water sources by foreign companies （specifically in the towns of Niseko and Kutchan）, the current study seeks to examine the validity of the processes involved in the formulation of WSACR, as well as related to operational challenges for the circum-Hakusan region （comprising the prefectures of Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama, and Gifu）, which yet has no experience with such acquisitions. To approach this problem, data has been gathered through interviews with forest policy officials at the prefectural and municipal levels, with characteristics and procedures relating to WSACR then summarized in detail.
Analysis revealed the following points. First, currently, there are no cases for the acquisition of forests in the circum-Hakusan region by foreign companies, and the role of WSACR is defined to be for fact-finding rather than licensing. Accordingly, plans by overseas companies attempting to acquire forests will not be rejected without reason. Second, while criticisms of excessive procedures and regulations have been previously raised in the implementation of conservation regulations, there are currently many who express the converse desire to further strengthen penalties. The reason for this is the desire to eliminate the anxiety that foreign companies will rampantly exploit Japan’s forests. Third, while forest land registries have for the most part yet to be fully clarified, there is a limit to what can be accomplished in this regard at the municipal level.
A lesson for the future is to ensure that public opinion about a foreign company buying forested area does not become unnecessarily complicated because of the absence of credible information. It is impossible to regulate overexploitation of forests under the Water Source Area Conservation Regulations, which has been instituted for local governance. If local foresters desire harsher regulations, developing national laws will be the appropriate approach to fulfill their needs.
JEL Classifications:Q18, Q23, Q58
Along with its economic development, Japan has experienced significant changes in its people’s living environments and lifestyles, as well as loss of tangible folk cultural properties that were originally produced as necessities of daily life and passed down from generation to generation while undergoing constant evolution and improvement. Tangible folk cultural properties are objects and implements traditionally used in everyday life related to food, clothing and shelter, livelihood activities such as farming and fishing, and annual events in local communities. They are important cultural heritages indispensable for understanding the changes in modes of life. However, with changes in the industrial structure and lifestyles since the Meiji Period, many tangible folk cultural properties are on the verge of being dispersed or lost. Furthermore, since they are familiar tools and implements used in daily life, their true value as cultural heritages is not fully recognized, and they are often not preserved or used properly. Tangible folk cultural properties have long been close to local residents who have created their own regional identities.
A study and analysis project conducted in the Kanto and Seto-uchi Regions and three prefectures in the Tokai region in 2010, 2012 and 2013 showed that many tangible folk cultural properties were lost, particularly with significant changes in the industrial structure and social lifestyles during the postwar period of rapid economic growth. As expected, the most severe tangible folk cultural property loss was seen in the Kanto Region. In the Tokai and Seto-uchi Regions, many traditional tools used in daily life have unexpectedly survived.
A hypothesis was developed from the results of the 2010 research conducted in the Kanto Region that tangible folk cultural properties remaining in a local area provide the major source of energy for developing unique communities and human resources. Based on this hypothesis, I conducted research in the Kyushu Region （Okinawa Prefecture excluded because it differs greatly from the rest of Japan in terms of historical and cultural background）, as well as the Tokai and Seto-uchi Regions to apply the hypothesis in these regions in addition to Kanto. The results showed that many tangible folk cultural properties produced in the Kyushu Region from the Meiji Period to the end of World War II were used throughout the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods, regardless of their type. This is also true in the Kanto, Tokai and Seto-uchi Regions. However unlike Kanto and Tokai, Kyushu has properties that were made in the Edo Period （before the Meiji Restoration） and use continued for occupational or religious purposes until after the end of World War II. Among folk cultural properties for occupational use, those produced and used until the 1970s account for 34% of the total in Kyushu, compared with 16% and 12% in Kanto and Tokai, respectively. As for folk cultural properties for religious use, some were made in the Edo Period, and continued to be used until the last years of the postwar high economic growth period （9% of the total folk cultural properties for religious use）. More folk cultural properties created in and before the Edo Period have survived in the Kyushu Region than in the three other regions. Kyushu even has folk cultural properties that were produced in the Showa Period （1965-1974） that are still used today. Northern Kyushu has been Japan’s leading center for heavy industries since the Meiji Period. Nevertheless, numerous folk cultural properties used in daily life for occupational purposes still survive in this area. This shows that in Kyushu, a region with a long history, the conventional ideas of the local people have been maintained, while both traditional local and heavy industries, which played a leading role in modern Japan’s economic growth, coexist well creating a dual industrial structure.
JEL Classifications: H54, R51, R53, Z11
This paper makes a comparative evaluation of two water management systems in China; i) a water parallel pricing system (WPP) and; ii) a water pricing system that are further separated into a system under current reform (WP_A) and a system under further reform (WP_B). This evaluation aims to identify a superior system for rural households and agricultural production with a decline in the water supply, such as a severe drought. WP_B is the superior system for rural households. However, a decrease in the domestic supply of farming commodities becomes more severe with the use of WP_B.
JEL Classifications: D58, E61, Q56
Provincial cities are at a disadvantage in attracting industrial plants due to a low degree of industrial agglomeration. However, they have an advantage in low wages and land prices. We analyzed how plant location preferences vary according to firm types （that is, industry sector and firm size） by a conditional logit model. We then discuss the type of firms more （or less） likely to be attracted to small provincial cities.
First, we used the likelihood ratio test to assess whether plant location preferences are statistically different among firm types. Second, using the estimated results, we calculated how much each locational factor must change to compensate for the decrease in location probability caused by a reduction of one extra unit in the industrial agglomeration.
The results showed that large sized firms compensate for a reduction in the industrial agglomeration with larger changes in locational factors （example, wages and land prices） than small sized firms. This implies that the policy costs （example, recruitment and investment subsidies） for attracting large sized firms to provincial cities is more expensive than for small firms. Additionally, firms belonging to processing and assembling industries compensate with smaller changes in wages, job-to-applicant ratio for high school graduates, and a length of highway rather than firms belonging to basic material industries. On the other hand, firms belonging to basic material industries compensate with smaller changes in industrial parks than firms belonging to processing and assembling industries.
JEL Classifications: R10, R11, R12, R15
An interregional differential of economic activity has been a public policy issue in Japan since the 1960s. The government has designed, legislated and implemented various policies to cope with this issue under various titles.
Interregional differentials of economic activity can be measured by various indices such as the size, growth rate or productivity of a regional economy. Also, the geographic coverage of “region” can vary. In this study, I used data from the Manufacturing Census to conduct an analysis of labor productivity differentials of the manufacturing industries of 47 prefectures in Japan using two different methods; production function analysis and shift-share analysis.
The production function analysis, though under the assumption of the Cobb-Douglas production function, showed different levels of total factor productivity, TFP in each mid-level subcategory of the manufacturing industry for each prefecture as the departure ratio from the national value. However, it should be noted that TFP was calculated as the Solow residual in the production function with a constant capital/labor substitution ratio.
The shift-share analysis divided γi, the departure ratio of labor productivity of the manufacturing total in prefecture i, from the national value into three components; μi: industry-mix component, πi: productivity-differential component, and their cross terms αi: allocative component for each of the mid-level sub-categories in the manufacturing industry. To calculate γi these three components were summed over all mid-level subcategories of the manufacturing industry for each prefecture. From this series, ECV 2: the employment-weighted coefficient of variation, sum of the squared coefficient for the variation in labor productivity weighted by the manufacturing employees’ share of each prefecture in the national total, was calculated for each calendar year. Overall, the productivity-differential component, πi, showed a higher weight than the industry-structure component, μi, in the labor productivity differentials of the manufacturing industries among prefectures. This means that the two approaches show consistent outcomes.
JEL Classifications: C81, L60, R00, R32
Since the 1978 economic reform that resulted in rapid expansion of Chinese cities, the government has requisitioned collective agricultural land owned by villagers. However, village settlements and Economic Development Land have been retained by the villager collectives. Collectively owned developed lands were later taken over by urbanization, resulting in urbanized villages. Drawing upon Lefebvre’s concept of “trial by space,” this paper constructs an analytical framework to explore the profound changes in power structure for (re)development of urbanized villages.
Three cycles of trial by space have been observed. Initially, the traditional agricultural life style was interrupted by the government initiat land acquisition. With clan community organizations the practice of joint-stock company was applied and led to sequential rural industrialization where informal settlements and land-use adjustments were brought about. In the second cycle, the definition of legal and illegal (re)development and restrictions on construction were regulated but ignored several times when the government tried to apply control over urbanized villages. Lastly, increased power of the villagers forced the local governments to adjust control in the villagers’ favour, enabling them to control redevelopment after 2009. Cycles of trial by space in urbanized villages indicate a change in the social power structure on which this study invites more critical examination.
JEL Classifications: R14