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Creating value-added work Discussion of jobs strategy for outlying areas

October 10, 2014

Toshimitsu Motegi

A meeting of the Regional Development Implementation and Management Headquarters (Chairperson: Takeo Kawamura, member of the House of Representatives) on October 10 heard from Professor Yoshio Higuchi of Keio University on the topic of "jobs strategies for outlying areas."


Professor Higuchi presented data indicating that the outflow of population to the Greater Tokyo area is significantly related to the effective job-to-applicant ratio and income gaps, and advocated the creation of high value-added jobs in local communities. He also noted many of the structural disadvantages that outlying areas face, including the conversion of the industrial structure, the closure of large factories, and reductions in public works spending. He emphasized that these are problems that can be overcome by policy. The United States and the United Kingdom, both of whom face the same challenges, have seen a decline in the populations of their major cities and increases in the populations of nearby and outlying smaller cities over the past decade, according to a survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As a specific vehicle for doing this, he advocated the creation of a "platform" that would bring together representatives of the government, business, finance, and community to formulate and implement local-level employment plans.


Members in attendance discussed similar attempts by the Mitterrand government in France to create a platform for local-level jobs strategies, highlighting the need for facilitators and the low wages of "blue-collar" line-level production workers as issues to be addressed.


Chairperson Kawamura said, "The biggest issue is that you can't attract people if you don't have jobs, spiraling into a population stunt. That's the main point." In his statements, Kawamura expressed his resolve to address job creation and to stem the outflow of population from outlying cities.

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