What is your option in the countryside?


Let’s imagine that for whatever reason you are living in the countryside of Japan. According to the Sakura Report of the Bank of Japan from July 2010 the outlook in the countryside seems very bleak. Most companies from seven of Japan’s nine regions expect business to worsen in the next three months. Kanto – as the region where Tokyo is located – seems to be the only area where business anticipates some improvement. So what can you expect from your future in the countryside?
In urban areas like Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, of course things look a bit better, because for example Tokyo’s unemployment rate is a bit below the national average of 5.2 percent and for sure well below the 8 percent recorded in the north. Not surprisingly the younger generation has to leave rural Japan, which results in Tokyo’s population growth by 1 million in the last decade. Amazingly the economy of Tokyo and its surrounding areas generates 31 percent of the GDP of Japan. While the typical countryside based factory jobs are moving abroad, in Tokyo the big companies headquarters are expected to stay. I do not expect any big changes in the near future, which causes the disparity to widen even further. Moreover now with the increased national deficit, cuts on funds for the countryside has to be expected. Previously taxpayers in Tokyo made sure that there is enough funds moving back, which created a reliance that discouraged independence in the regions. According to Bloomberg News in the countryside they never saw a need to develop their own business models, their own products and their own bridge to global markets.
I am really wondering about the political impact on the upcoming elections. I believe there is no choice than continue with further cuts on public works due to the huge deficit, so I am very doubtful whether there can be any options created for the one’s living in the countryside. Who is responsible? The one’s who cannot send money back to the countryside for support, or the one’s who do not try hard enough to create business in the countryside? I have to confess, I do not know the answer. Do you?

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

4 thoughts on “What is your option in the countryside?

  1. In terms of economy, the outlook in the countryside seems very bleak. But the countrysides in Japan are not turning to a desert, rather stay beautiful.

    I do not expect any national political impact on the upcoming elections. They are and always have been busy in playing their own power games.
    But I see some good pressure from local governers like
    Higashikokubaru of Miyazaki and Hashimoto of Osaka.

    Unless Japan promote the tranformation of the economical structure, the economy of countrysides stays sluggish.

    Mass production of automobile, electronical commodities, and other hardwares ,supplying good qualities at low cost, as our business model after worldwarⅡdoes not bring the economy up anymore. Because the market is saturated and there is a great competition from China, asian countries and other developing countries.

    Promotion of agricultural, forest, and Fisheries industries that have seemingly been forgotten after WorldWar Ⅱwill bring countyside economy up for sure because Japanese has advanced tecnologies in these areas also.

    Tourism industry, which has never been developed much in Japan, has a great possibility to grow as major industry helping the economy of countryside.
    Last year, France had about 80million tourists, ranked #1.
    America came second with about 60million, Japan ranked 17th or 18th with only 8million.
    Michelin started publishing Japan tour spot in 2007 and one of authority at Michelin guide said ” Japan is woth going just to eat”

    I see a lot of opportunities that turns countryside economy up. It is a matter of not only political decisions on direction but also our determination and spirit of commitment to move forward.

    • Dear Sugiyama san,

      thank you so much not only for commenting, but as well for taking time to add truly useful information.
      I have to agree with you. I sincerely wish that as much nature as possible is perserved in the country side and hopefully one day all the concrete blobs can be removed. Tourists come to Japan to see either culture or nature.

      All the best,

      Sibylle Ito

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