OECD Territorial Reviews: Japan 2016

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Japan is embarked on a demographic transition without precedent in human history: the population is both declining and ageing rapidly. This raises important questions about the country's future economic geography, as public policies will need both to respond to these shifts and also to shape them. Demographic change will have particularly important implications for the settlement pattern of the country, and this, in turn, will affect Japan's ability to sustain economic growth and the well-being of its citizens. This Review therefore focuses on the spatial implications of demographic change and the response of spatial policies to it, particularly as these interact with other policies aimed at sustaining the productivity growth that a "super-ageing" Japan will need in order to maintain its future prosperity. The Japanese authorities have recently put in place a complex package of long-term spatial and structural policies aimed at meeting this challenge. Their experience should be of first-order interest to other OECD countries, as most face the prospect of rapid population ageing and many are also projected to experience significant population decline over the coming decades.

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Policies to ensure Japan's regional and rural revitalisation

This chapter is concerned with the revitalisation of Japan’s smaller cities and towns and its rural areas. It begins with a review of revitalisation policies in Japan and then presents a brief overview of economic conditions and trends in Japan’s intermediate and predominantly rural regions. It then presents the current package of revitalisation policies before turning to three key themes that emerge in discussions of regional and local revitalisation efforts. The first is the relationship between agricultural and rural development policies, which has been evolving in Japan in recent years. The second is the design of policies for geographically challenged regions, such as small islands and remote mountainous areas, of which Japan has many. The third concerns the policy framework for managing infrastructure, service delivery and economic development in places that are destined to lose much of their population over the longer term.



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