Challenges in Human Resource Development for Rural Leisure Activities in Japan

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: 311+312
Oral Presentation
Munehiko ASAMIZU , Faculty of Economics, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi, Japan
This study offers a brief general description of rural leisure activities in Japan. Japan has less land area than many of countries in Asia, but the landscape of the archipelago has a rich and varied terrain broken up by sea, mountains and rivers. This small land itself comes in many varieties, and differs between Hokkaido (in the far north) and Okinawa (in the far south). This variety has aided the growth of various types of rural leisure activities. Mountain villages and small isles offer rural experiences that are unfamiliar to most urban people.

On the other hand, rural revitalization is a serious issue in the management of rural areas. The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Post and Telecommunications (Somu Sho) has established an initiative called Chiiki-okoshi Kyouryoku-tai (Supporters of Regional Revitalization). In addition, some prefectural and municipal governments have established support organizations aimed at rural activities.

This study explores a few cases in Yamaguchi Prefecture (the far west of Japan) to assess potentials and challenges. The Yamaguchi Prefectural Government is allocating some of its budget for volunteer activities in rural areas. Due to depopulation, volunteers from urban areas are increasingly needed to support rural leisure activities. However, the small number of repeat volunteers from urban areas poses a key problem in developing sustainable rural leisure programs.