Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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DFG-Projekt: Lokale Zivilgesellschaft

Project description

Local Civil Society in Japan -- Partnership as a New Item of Japan's Local Politics

Almost all advanced countries are forced to redefine the general relationship between central and local government as well as the one between citizens and the nation state. This is due to the substantial increase of unemployment, dropping tax revenues, and problems with the social security systems because of the rapid aging of the population.

In Japan as well, the central-local relations underwent fundamental change. By introducing a decentralization reform package in 2000, the former excessively “centralized” governance structure has changed to an equal based cooperation between center and locality. This change is accompanied by the acceptance of the local citizens as political subjects.

It looks as if local administrations and citizens are steadily moving closer to each other. In our project, we intend to analyze empirically the interaction between local administrations, NGO’s, local politicians and other local actors as well as conflict lines between them and the limitations in their action space. In case studies, we plan to investigate local actors in the in following policy networks: environmental politics, social welfare, and urban development.

Our purpose is to answer the question whether these new forms of interaction between the political and administrative system and citizens are leading to an improvement of problem solving on the local level and to more democracy through citizen participation.

Since March 1st 2006, the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) provides financial support for the project, which is located at the Institute of Political Science and Japanese Studies at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. Collaborators are Prof. Dr. Gesine Foljanty-Jost, Mai Aoki M.A., Karoline Haufe M.A. and Jana Lier M.A.

A Japanese version of the project description is downloadable here.

Japanese project description
Leaflet_Japanese.pdf (211.6 KB)  vom 22.03.2007