The hollowing out of small-town Japan

We’ve witnessed it in Canada and the United States. But the boom for cities globally is often taking place at the expense of, or at least in the place of, once-thriving small towns.

The New York Times points to the situation in Japan, where angry rural voters are a force to be reckoned with politically — responsible in good part for parliamentary volatility over the last several months.

As the article points out, part of the problem in rural Japan is an unwillingness to adapt to new realities:

“Local leaders who have tried to make changes complain of running into a thicket of local interest groups and powerful bureaucrats in Tokyo — both forces against altering the status quo. Norihisa Satake, the mayor of Akita city, the prefecture’s capital, says he has hit such obstacles as he has tried to promote revitalization plans like expanding his city’s port for large Russian ships, luring tourists from Tokyo or even holding a one-day jazz festival.”

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