Japan's Road to Pluralism: Transforming Local Communities in the Global Era

Shun’ichi Furukawa and Toshihiro Menju, eds.
May 2003

Profound changes are being hewn in Japanese communities, as historical precedents, proven models, established guidelines, and fixed rules are challenged and more appropriate alternatives sought.
In this volume, seven sociologists show how fundamental structures have been undergoing change at the grassroots level in Japan because of decentralization and globalization. Citizen activism in local governance is growing, in response to new societal phenomena such as an increase in the foreign resident population and weakened local industries. Along with decentralization, many local authorities are promoting new measures to actively cope with the impact of globalization and to work with nongovernmental organizations and community businesses to meet the new needs of citizens. This volume chronicles the practical and incremental changes in community-level governance and how such change has redefined the duties of prefectures and local authorities clearly pointing toward Japan’s new road to pluralism.
This publication was the result of a study on the “Transformation of Japanese Communities and the Emerging Local Agenda,” which was carried out as part of the Global ThinkNet Fellows program.


1. Foreword 
Yamamoto Tadashi, President, Japan Center for International Exchange
2. Introduction: The Challenges Facing Japanese Communities 
Furukawa Shun’ichi, Professor of Government and Public Administration, Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences, University of Tsukuba
3. Decentralization in Japan
Furukawa Shun’ichi
4. The Socioeconomic Impact of Community Business
Kanagawa Koji, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social and Environmental Studies, Fukuoka Institute of Technology
5. Local Government and Resident Foreigners: A Changing Relationship
Kashiwazaki Chikako, Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Keio University
6. International Policies of Local Governments
Menju Toshihiro, Senior Program Officer, Japan Center for International Exchange
7. Think Tanks in a Changing Regional Environment
Nakamura Madoka, Senior Researcher, Center for Policy Research Information, National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA)
8. Prospects for a Self-Sustainable Local Fiscal System
Numao Namiko, Associate Professor, College of Economics, Nihon University
9. The Emergence of NPOs and the Implications
Tamura Shigeru, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, Niigata University
Copyright © 2003 Japan Center for International Exchange. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 4-88907-060-5; 187 pages; paper