Japan’s population is shrinking at an alarming rate, and is expected to decrease from 127 million to 90 million people by 2060. The ageing population is expected to rise by 40%, which, combined with a declining birth rate, will drastically distort Japan’s demographic. Societal ageing will harm Japan’s economic growth by putting strain on the social welfare system; support of these systems through taxation will be threatened by declining numbers of young people. Another factor causing Japan’s population to decrease is the population shift to Tokyo, where the birth rate is lower than in rural areas.
In order to tackle this challenge, in 2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe created the Headquarter for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalising Local Economy, which aims to promote regional revitalisation by implementing new policy and law. However, despite his efforts, the population inflow to Tokyo is still continuing. In this talk, Ueki Imaoka from Ministry of Finance gave a brief summary of Japanese Regional Revitalisation at the national level, while Takashi Hiranaka from the Embassy of Japan in the UK and Ichiro Oshiro, Mayor of Yawatahama presented on several activities taking place on a local level.
The event is organised in cooperation with Yawatahama City.
A video of the talk can be found here:
About the contributors
Ichiro Oshiro holds a BA from Okayama Shoka University, and was elected Mayor of Yawatahama City (Ehime Prefecture) in 2009, re-elected in 2013 and 2017. Since his appointment he has made many changes to the city, promoting the agriculture and fishery industry, building one of the most successful tourism stations (“Michi-No-Eki Minatto”), opening a new hot spring facility, and renovating the public hospital. He also took a leading role in “Japan Association of Young City Mayors.” In May 2019, he invites UK’s World’s Marmalade Festival to Japan.
Ueki Imaoka is Head of Planning and Finance Department at Yawatahama City Government. He started his career at the Ministry of Finance in Japan, engaging in several key policies including taxation, JGB, and international coordination (G20/IMF). Following this, he studied in the US, gaining a Master’s degree, after which he joined Yawatahama local government as the “City Manager” to revitalise the Japan’s local area for two years. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.
Takashi Hiranaka is Counsellor, Embassy of Japan in the UK. He started his career as a government official in 1995, entering the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). He was assigned to his current post in 2015 as an agricultural attaché to carry out international agriculture and food policy analyses. From 2006 to 2009, he held the post of Consul for the Consulate General in Los Angeles. Before coming to the UK, he led a team to establish the rural revitalisation policy as Director for the Rural Policy Promotion Office, MAFF in 2014.