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Sessions of "Social Capital Policy Development Study Group" Opened up to Public
- Independent Reconstruction of Regional Management -
Fostering "Trust" "Standards" and "Networks" Making Use of the Wisdom and Resources of Local Residents Themselves

October 23, 2007

The Japan Research Institute, Limited (President: Yasuyuki Kimoto; Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) has established a Social Capital Policy Development Study Group (Chairman: Professor Naoto Yamauchi, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University)which began considering policies that will encourage the creation of social capital in September 2007. Further sessions to be held on October 31 and December 19 will be open to the public.

Thanks to balanced regional development, under government leadership, the level of social capital and the standard of living conditions have improved throughout Japan. And, in "hardware" terms, it would be fair to say that balanced regional development has virtually been attained.

In the future, there will be a still greater need to revitalize the economy and cater to diversifying local needs while maintaining the regional development achieved to date. To this end, it is essential that local communities should not rely on the central government but should work independently to strengthen regional management. However, as little progress has been made in the transfer of authority from central to local government, and cooperation and socialization within local society and between neighborhoods is becoming rarer, it is becoming more and more difficult to harness the wisdom and resources of local residents themselves in the pursuit of regional management.

Connections between local residents are vital if Japan is to build regional societies in which people can lead fulfilling lives with peace of mind and use their own wisdom and resources to achieve economic revitalization. The Social Capital Study Group was established with a view to revitalize and strengthen such connections among citizens by fostering "trust", "standards" and "networks" and to develope these connections as social systems.

The Study Group, whose members are policy leaders in fields such as politics, fiscal science, statistics, and community policy studies in Japan will consider what policies are best adapted to the purpose of fostering social capital from a variety of angles, "symbiosis and independence", and will publish proposals based on its findings.

The Study Group is scheduled to meet four times in all. At the 1st session (held on September 19), the discussion included reports on the progress made by the Study Group. For the 2nd and 3rd sessions (October 31 and December 19 respectively), the discussion of policy development in Japan and overseas will be open to the public.

For more information on the content of this report, please contact Satoshi Nagatomi, the Japan Research Institute, Limited.

Tel: 06-6243-4653

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