Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Workshop: Local revitalization policies for shrinking and ageing society: North-Central Kyoto (Kyoto City, Japan)


International workshop

29 September 2012, Kyoto City, Japan

This workshop was organised by Research Centre for the Local Public Human Resouces and Policy Development (LORC), Ryukoku University within the framework of the OECD LEED project on local scenarios of demographic change: North-Central Area of Kyoto Prefecture (Kyoto, Japan) with support from Japnese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Kyoto Prefecture, the Community and University Alliance for Regeneration of Northen Kyoto (CUANKA), Kyoto University Collaboration for Local Public Human Resources, Consortium for Local Public Human Resources Development (COLPU), Japan Centre for Area Development Research,
hosted by Ryukoku University and with sponsorship by the Suntory Foundation.




The total population of Japan has been decreasing since its peak in 2005, in what has been described as the emergence of “depopulating society”. Most of the cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants have experienced depopulation and have been regarded as shrinking cities. Depopulation is particularly significant on the outskirts of the metropolitan areas and peripheral regions. As part of this process, society is ageing rapidly, and it is expected that in near future more than 30% of the Japanese total population will be elderly population (more than 65 years old) by the year 2023. Japan is the front runner in terms of the emergence of the depopulating and ageing society in the world.

DON'T MISS: Related seminar

Demographic transitions in an ageing society: Intergenerational challenges and labour market implications

1 October 2012 / 16.00-17.30

6th floor, Nippon Press Center Bldg. 2-2-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Session 1: Challenges of demographic change in Kyoto - Policy responses and ‘regional capacity’

The north-central area of Kyoto Prefecture ranging from Kyoto city to the Sea of Japan, represents middle and small cities with less than 100,000 people.  While the rice fields spread in narrow plain lands, the main part of the area is geographically disadvantaged rural and mountain areas.  Those areas are rapidly depopulating and ageing.  In the central parts of these cities, their business functions are declining with an increasing number of vacant stores and houses.  In the farming and mountain villages the young and senior citizens are migrating out, leaving the elderly to deal with agriculture and forestry. The economy in these areas is hardly sustainable, and raises the following questions.

1. How to create employment opportunities that will attract the younger people?

2. How will it be possible to ensure the quality of life (QOL) within a depopulating and ageing society?

3. How to make use of local resources, to promote endogenous industrial developments, and to create inclusive social enterprises (enterprises which improve the environment, support the elderly, and built communities

Session 2: International experiences, policies and strategies

Countries across the world are affected in different ways by demographic change at the local level. For example, the decline in the urban population due to suburbanisation and de-industrialisation, has resulted in a wide range of socio-economic issues (e.g. increased unemployment rate, decrease in revenue, degradation of properties). As a result of falling fertility rates, many cities and regions in OECD member countries are likely to continue to “shrink” in the coming decades, even with some increases in population due to migration (from within or from outside the country). Corresponding to declining populations and fertility rates is the steady increase in the elderly, particularly within the developed countries, resulting in challenges for social inclusion of ageing populations and the re-evaluation of the role of older people within the workplace.

1. What are the challenges facing regional and national labour markets due to demographic change?

2. What are the most effective methods and tools to maintain older people in the labour market in relation to the expected demographic change?

3. What services are being designed specifically for elderly population within urban areas and surrounding environments?

4. What intergenerational solutions/mechanisms facilitate inclusion at regional level?

Session 3: Fostering partnerships for rich skills development ecosystems in shrinking areas

Industry workforce is ageing and in some firm, all the employees are older workers. Strategies are needed to address the most important factors to keep older persons working as well as encouraging intergenerational cooperation within the firm. Strategies for revitalising local communities are also needed. The Kameoka Carbon Minus Project explores the local development model through partnerships between industries, government, academia and citizens.

1. What are the new areas of growth and what skills development programmes are needed in the North-Central Kyoto Area?

2. What roles are expected for the university to play to cultivate and provide human resources?

3. What strategies are needed to keep older persons working as well as encouraging the relationship between older workers and young workers?

Session 4: Policy, education and research approaches to enhance regional capacity

In less populated areas, and in the capital as well, human resources are scarce.  Kyoto Prefecture has made significant policy efforts to enhance the regional capacity through regional networks. The partnerships forged among local stakeholders were aimed at revitalising local communities. 

At the same time, it is expected that the universities play a role to cultivate human resources. The universities in Kyoto City have developed human resources cultivation programmes at the master’s  level in order to develop human capital which can contribute toward revitalization of local cities in the north-central areas of Kyoto Prefecture as well as within the rural areas located in its periphery. Such human resource development system is called ''the Certification System for ‘Local Public Policy Consultant''. The universities in Kyoto City led by Ryukoku University, Research Centre for the Local Public Human Resources and Policy Development/LORC, formulated and implemented numerous projects in collaboration with local municipalities in the north-central areas of Kyoto Prefecture, private enterprises as well as non-profit organisations.

1. What are the challenges facing North-Central Area of Kyoto Prefecture today?

2. What are the policies and initiatives proposed by local institutions and the Kyoto Prefecture?

3. What actors are most expected (or can take leadership) to facilitate the public-private partnership, and how can public-private partnership enhance regional capacity in the Kyoto Prefecture?  What is the university’s role?

Agenda / Summary Report / Presentations



60-80 senior governmental officials, academic researchers, economic organisations, NPOs, university and research students.



The workshop took place at Ryukoku University Fukakusa Campus, Kyoto, Japan.



For further information, please contact Professor Hiroshi Yahagi, Professor at Ryukoku University and Vice-Director of LORC, Ryukoku University or Dr. Cristina Martinez-Fernandez, Senior Policy Analyst, OECD LEED Programme.



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