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Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Tokushima town

16 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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16 Comments
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Those scarecrows sure have personality!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is actually the reality in most developed nations, even growing countries like Canada have plenty of small depopulating towns and villages. Without immigration, Japan is just feeling it more than other countries. The issue is simple: lack of economic opportunities and people's preference for access to services and entertainment available in big metro areas. The jobs available in such areas tend to have very low wages too.

The usual story is for kids to go to cities for their studies, and without hope of finding a job for their skills back home, they stay in the cities or its suburbs where they start their family, only going back occasionally to their home town to see their family, sometimes the last trip home is to bury their mother or father and settle their estate. It's not a recent phenomenon either, I seem to remember that in the 70s, Tokyo-born residents of Tokyo were a minority in Tokyo, most people actually came from the country. It's the same everywhere in the developed world.

Ultimately, I think we may have to come to terms that this decline cannot be reversed. Triage might be required, with efforts to concentrate population in sparsely inhabited areas into the largest municipality around rather than every small town trying to attract people and hurting each other's attempt to do the same.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Such a shame, I see it around where I live in rural Yamanashi. Some of these places are so beautiful, I'm sure people would love to live & raise families there if only there were opportunities to make a decent living

3 ( +4 / -1 )

it is forecast to fall to about 108 million by 2050 and to 87 million by 2060.

21 million in a decade?!

Post-WW2 Japan Inc. baby factories, go!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Looks like it's way up a twisty mountain road ... 1 hour 36 min to drive 61 km (37 miles) to Miyoshi town ....

http://goo.gl/maps/I9VTc

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is an excellent documentary and interview about this (7 months old):

http://vimeo.com/92453765

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I haven't been to Nagoro, but I've been to Kamiyama many times. It's a beautiful place and only one of two areas in Tokushima where the population is growing (the other is Aizumi). In addition, the man mentioned in the article, Ominami-san is a friend of mine and he has been a savior to the area. He is Stanford educated and a wonderful person.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They really need to encourage a lot of office jobs out of Tokyo. Tokyo's fertility rate is 1.0, which is dragging down the country. Give tax breaks and help to encourage this, and the rural areas won't die. Though the renewed focus on logging will prolly add a few thousand jobs as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What baud rate is the Internet service out there? Broadband? Dialup? Satellite?

Picturing visiting millenials gasping and flopping from lack of bandwidth ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Part of me finds this terribly tragic, a matter of losing history. Another part of me wants to find a nice house in the mountains and spend the rest of my days there. Maybe I could be the youngest person in the village. That would be a change.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Don't worry about the depopulation of rural areas. The LDP have this firmly under control and are "protecting" local areas from re-vitalisation by having laws and regulations in place to stop outsiders trying new business. Outsiders can't buy farm land and forestry is tightly controlled to protect local areas. Dying towns and rural depopulation can't be happening because they are being "protected" - surely this town where locals are being replaced by scarecrows must be an anomaly. Forestry is a joke in Japan. Price paid to local owners for spruce around ¥10,000 / m3 - international market price paid by importers for overseas spruce ¥20,000. Cost to replant in Japan using forestry association¥700,000 ha - cost overseas without subsidy ¥200,000 ha. Average return on forestry in NZ = 14% p.a. - in Japan 1% p.a.. I heard # of forestry workers in Germany = 1,000,000 whereas the # in Japan is only 50,000. But don't worry the Government is "protecting" rural workers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Meanwhile, over 300,000 Tohoku people are still living in temporary housing that was not meant to last almost 4 years, which is how long the temporary housing has been occupied. Perhaps attractive incentives can be found to encourage migration of homeless Tsunami victims to these areas. Some places near the Tohoku coast should never be occupied again. There is a dead zone surrounding Fukushima Dai-Ichi that should remain a no-go zone for millenia, just like the area around Pripyat, Ukraine and the Chernobyl nuclear plant is. It's time to think about resettling these people from what has become a slow-mo manmade disaster, even though it started out as a natural disaster.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a problem in many countries almost always a result of economic success. Even the old Roman empire would offer to pay Roman women to have babies and it didn't work. Many European countries are Also below replacement rates of birth and America would be if not for immigration. The reasons seem to be women wanting more from life than being a brood mare and the property of husband or family. cultures simply Do not change with the success, wanting the money and developed country But keeping to outdated traditional roles which usually leave women out. This works in old agrarian or fuedal cultures But when everyone is able to succeed on their own the cost of kids and loss to spouses and the extra responsibility is simply not wanted. All I know is male Japanese friends I have don't want women and the female friends I have think it is bad enough to be called too old at 30 and don't want to make it harder For themselves by having babies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is so creepy. So very very creepy.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sad and pathetic but very moving who will sing and drink that warm saké telling great stories of love and ladies fox spirit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think Kamiyama has the right idea. It used to break my heart riding through rural Kumamoto seeing rundown houses with old people still living in them, the children who could fix them hours away in the city. Transportation is so expensive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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