Innovators Network


Are Rural Communities Doomed? Changemakers Say No!
Monday, October 30, 6:30 PM
April 2017 — March 2019

Iwate, Niigata, Ehime and Shimane, Japan; West Virginia, Ohio, Nebraska and New York, USA

With a low birthrate, an aging society, and the decline of primary and local industries, the situation in regional areas in Japan has been dire for some time. In fact, the rising inequality across many sectors between urban areas and non-urban areas is a relevant topic in many developed and developing nations, as they are experiencing similar demographic and economic changes. This shift is also affecting communities throughout the United States, although not as dramatically as in Japan.

To reduce this gap, Japan Society and the Japan NPO Center are joining forces for Resilient and Vibrant Rural Communities in Japan and the U.S., and will bring together leaders in Japan and the U.S. dedicated to the revitalization of rural areas and small towns experiencing economic stagnation and declining population. Leaders from Japan will visit West Virginia, Ohio and Nebraska in the first of the project. Through the sharing of best practices that build back community resilience and vibrancy, the project contributes to leadership development through a unique international learning exchange and experience, and strengthens the work and impact of the participants’ organizations and their respective communities.


Atsuhisa Emori
General Manager, Nippon Taberu Journal League
Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture

Kenji Hayashi
Co-President, FoundingBase
Tsuwano, Shimane Prefecture

Ryoko Sato
Associate Professor, Ehime University
Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture

Tsuyoshi Sekihara
Founder & Advisor, Kamiechigo Yamazato Fan Club
Joestu, Niigata Prefecture

Junichi Tamura
Chief Director, Next Commons Lab
Tono, Iwate Prefecture
Resilient and Vibrant Rural Communities in Japan and the U.S. is supported by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas) and R&R Consulting.

Transportation assistance is provided by ANA HOLDINGS, INC. and United Airlines.

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