Recently, the Japan Times, the largest English daily in Japan, asked local residents in Akita Prefecture in Northern Japan how they wanted to attract more visitors to their beloved prefecures. Following is a brief suimmary of what they had to say.
Corin Kanazawa (with son Zen)
Business consultant, 37 (Australian)
Akita Prefecture is beautiful and a wonderful place to raise children. However, a more family-friendly work culture must be put in place, so that parents can actually spend quality time with their children.
Cafe owner, 39 (Japanese)
Like many young people from Akita, I left and tried working in Tokyo. After coming back and opening my cafe, I’ve realized that it is much easier to start your own business here due to the low overheads. This could be used to encourage young people to return.
Dairyuji Temple head, 39 (American)
The quality of life is very high here, including easy entrance into pre-schools and access to top-notch schools systems. I think if there was a stronger economy and increased support for local businesses, more families could move to Akita.
Dairyuji Temple head, 48 (Japanese)
Akita offers safe, high-quality produce, wild plants and seafood. I think we need to take advantage of these to establish new business models in the agricultural industries and fisheries, along with making the most of the cheap land prices.
Rickshaw driver, 50s (Japanese)
Before thinking about the issue of more children, the government needs to make it more attractive for people to get married. A lot of the younger people I know are still single. I’m not really sure why this is, but I think it’s an important issue.
Company employee, 28 (Japanese)
It’s simple—there needs to be a wider variety of better paying jobs. That’s what young people really want. It isn’t surprising that young people want to move to other places for work.