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Coming Soon to a City Near You! Learning to Live 'Beyond Growth' in Japan's Shrinking Regions

Matanle, Peter and Sato, Yasuyuki (2010) Coming Soon to a City Near You! Learning to Live 'Beyond Growth' in Japan's Shrinking Regions. Social Science Japan Journal, 13 (2). pp. 187-210. ISSN 1369-1465


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This article analyses rural depopulation in Japan and its implications by means of a case study of Niigata Prefecture and Sado Island. In the first part of the article we present population maps to show that rural demographic shrinkage is both deepening as well as broadening to include urban centres. We focus initially on Niigata Prefecture in the national context and then discuss migratory patterns in Sado. The data show that Sado, and now Niigata Prefecture as a whole, have entered what we call a 'double negative population disequilibrium', whereby both the migratory and natural reproduction population contributions have turned negative. Recent evidence also indicates that Niigata City itself may also have begun to shrink. In the second part we discuss the implications of depopulation for Sado Island via extracts from qualitative interviews gathered from local residents. We found that many residents now accept the inevitability of continued shrinkage and, rather than seeking to re-establish growth, many institutional and social and environmental entrepreneurs are instead working towards achieving community stability and sustainability. We conclude by suggesting that the example of Japan's rural communities presents Japan's regional cities with the occasion to consider life 'beyond growth', as their populations also begin to shrink in the years to come.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: This article is a post-review corrected version, and is the final version prior to publisher proofing. Readers are advised to refer to the published article for accurate citation and referencing. If you are unable to access the published version, then please contact the author at: p.matanle@sheffield.ac.uk.
Keywords: rural revitalisation; Japan; environmental sustainability; economic development; depopulation; demography
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of East Asian Studies (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Peter Matanle
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2012 12:01
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 22:43
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ssjj/jyq013
Status: Published
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1093/ssjj/jyq013
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43577

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