Meetings of Interest
Is Rural Japan Sustainable? Past, Present and Future of Community-based Endeavors
Meetings of Interest
Friday, September 17, 2021 12:02 PM

October 1, 2 and 3, 2021 (Japan Standard Time)

Japan is facing challenges that are similar to those being addressed by other countries around the world, although the constellation of these challenges in Japan poses unique difficulties and opportunities. For example, Japan’s astounding pace of aging, wherein 40 percent of its population will be 65 years of age or older by 2060, and heavy dependence on imported foods, with 60 percent of food calories consumed by the Japanese people coming from abroad, are contributing to a sense that rural Japan may be facing a major sustainability crisis. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 has aggravated this sense of “crisis” and leads to questions of how environmental, health and social risks might be mitigated. Analyses of how these challenges are being addressed in local Japanese communities could not only influence ongoing dialogues about how to improve in quality of life in Japan, but also contribute to illuminating common global challenges and possibilities for sustainable development in other parts of the world.

We are asking scholars who are conducting, or who have recently conducted empirical work in Japan on innovative community-based approaches to transforming food, agriculture, forestry, and fishery to submit abstracts on their work for consideration for presentation in a virtual symposium this fall. We are particularly interested in presentations that highlight how everyday people are approaching local development challenges and opportunities. Thematically, these empirical studies could be framed within a variety of conceptual approaches, including, but not limited to:
• a loss of trust in the political economic system;
• issues of power and powerlessness;
• top -down versus bottom-up development strategies;
• concerns about the future viability of rural Japan;
• local conflicts about development strategies and future visions; and
• creative and innovative approaches to empowering

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