This blog post is part of a series entitled Is Japan in Decline?, in which leading experts analyze Japan’s economy, politics, and society and give their assessment of Japan’s future.
If there is anywhere in Japan that appears to be in decline today, it is the countryside. Rural areas have been depopulating since the 1950s, when young men, sometimes with their families in tow, migrated to the cities to find work in the urban factories that propelled Japan’s postwar industrialization.
The blows to rural communities kept coming. The relaxation of timber imports in the 1960s hurt towns dependent on forestry. The decision to shift to oil-fired power plants in the early 1970s pummeled coal mining regions. Globalization, the centralization of universities and economic activity in urban centers, particularly Tokyo, and the rise of overseas tourism drew more jobs (and people) out of the countryside. Read more »