Profound changes are being hewn in Japanese communities, as historical precedents, proven models, established guidelines, and fixed rules are challenged and more appropriate alternatives sought.
In this volume, seven sociologists show how fundamental structures have been undergoing change at the grassroots level in Japan because of decentralization and globalization. Citizen activism in local governance is growing, in response to new societal phenomena such as an increase in the foreign resident population and weakened local industries. Along with decentralization, many local authorities are promoting new measures to actively cope with the impact of globalization and to work with nongovernmental organizations and community businesses to meet the new needs of citizens. This volume chronicles the practical and incremental changes in community-level governance and how such change has redefined the duties of prefectures and local authorities clearly pointing toward Japan’s new road to pluralism.