A major challenge facing the Japan of today is how to preserve and reconstruct its regions, regional cities and rural districts in the face of rising population densities in cities and depopulation in regions. In other words, the work that we are charged with is reconstructing current regional communities as places where people choose to come and settle down. In the field of area studies, too, the reconstruction of local communities within a contracting society is a major issue. In contrast to the current situation, where local communities are in a state of stagnation and ruin and are becoming increasingly difficult to live in because of the decline of local industry, the declining birthrate and aging population, decline in community functions, loss of administrative services, and the loss of the means for collective consumption, we need to maintain and improve life in regional communities to enable people to live in security there. In addition to further developing the university’s existing public contribution activities, the Regional Cooperation Department aims to put into practice solutions to regional issues in collaboration with members of local communities while proposing a range of activities for contributing to regional revitalization. And it is also my hope that together, we can contribute to the construction of new regional forms and social systems while reconsidering our existing values in life.
Jun Hamada, Head of the Regional Cooperation Department