50th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Sustainable Regional Growth and Development in the Creative Knowledge Economy", 19-23 August 2010, Jönköping, Sweden
As the rural settlements with less people and the aged in the majority are increasing, such policies are promoted as the resettlement, the gathering of hamlets and the reorganization of the existing community functions through the partnership among the residents, the municipal office and the experts in social affairs. It may be a part of necessary countermeasures against the ongoing decline due to depopulation and economic recession, but the viewpoint how to maintain/sublate or create the local value for the future sustainability is not usually set well. It is true that the security of the job and the welfare to live on is important, but the positive activities to pursue the local identity of the community will play an important role. The sustainability of the community will be enhanced when the community has the local identity worth and attractive enough for the residents to live with. In this sense, one of the ideal goal will be the structure that the secured job and welfare themselves comprise the activities to build the identity of the community. If it is accompanied with the definite innovation of something regarding economy, lifestyle or thought in order to establish the local identity, the activity will show the typical and profound movement. In this presentation empirical evidence of the activities searching for the identity of the community in depopulated and waning rural Japan is illustrated and investigated.