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Palmer, Edwina (1983) Rural depopulation in post-war Japan, with reference to remote rural settlements of the Tajima region. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis traces the development of rural depopulation in post-war Japan. Emphasis is placed on the demographic, economic and social factors which have affected, and been affected by, rural depopulation. Special reference is made to original research on seven remote depopulated settlements of the Tajima region of northern Hyogo Prefecture. It is argued that rural depopulation occurs principally in industrialized nations such as Japan, as a combined result of demographic transition and large-scale rural-urban migration of young, productive people from the remoter rural areas. In the case of Japan, the late development of the communications network and problems of accessibility in remote rural areas are shown to have had a profound impact on the depopulation process. Moreover, the poor organizational structure of forest management and problems in the agrarian structure are major drawbacks to the development of depopulated areas. It is argued that although rural depopulation occurred swiftly in post-war Japan, its potential severity has been alleviated on balance by several devices, notably by benevolent agricultural policy and the practice of seasonal migration for employment (dekasegi), There has been a rapid increase in the proportion of part-time farming in Japan, which, in depopulated settlements that are often beyond commuting distance to off-farm job opportunities, frequently takes the form of dekasegi. Dekasegi is demonstrated to be an important transitional stage in the rural depopulation process. In the remoter settlements of Japan, the instigation of small cooperative activities are shown to alleviate many of the economic and social problems caused by rural depopulation and may help to sustain or revitalize the economy of many depopulated settlements.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

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