23rd INTA World Congress, Lyon, France, May, 1999Citizen Integration through the Urban Management in JapanHirohide Konami (Ph.D., Professor)Faculty of Regional Development StudiesToyo University, Tokyo
Citizen integration is one of the most important issue in Japan especially in new towns and large housing projects in down town areas. Fortunately, Japan is rather uniform in race and income level and not so serious as the other countries. Even though the following problems can be pointed out.
2 Urban management in Tokyo metropolitan area
It is quite difficult to make the metropolitan people wake up and have interest in the community matters. One possibility is to keep communication through the education of children. But, if they send their children to remote famous schools, this method becomes nonsense. They read the newspaper of Tokyo, listen to the TV news of Tokyo and go to Tokyo for shopping. We don’t have any effective measures yet for these people except the administrative organization called “Chounaikai” which is a kind of residents’ union or a block club to keep contact with some notification from the city. This chounaikai consists of ten to twenty dwelling units identified by the address or the street. The activity of chounaikai is to pass through the announce papers from the city and to do some community activities like cleaning up the streets or collecting money for the management of chounaikai and good will solatium for the refugees of some disaster under the leadership of chounaikai chief. If wives or aged parents are free from professional jobs, they may be the core group to keep the community. Unfortunately the parents are normally living apart from the married children and wives are engaged in some part-time or full-time jobs. In general, it can be said that the people in these areas are used to be independent and less integrated.
3 Urban management in new towns
The integration of citizens in a new town is mainly promoted by the mayor. If the scale of the new town is bigger than the existing town, the mayor put more importance to attract the mind of new residents in order to get support in the coming election. This is the same for other politicians. Actual methods are to install a community TV, to publish a community paper, to construct a community hall, to propose some sports events or to invite to a sightseeing tour. The residents of a new town are usually the similar situation, having a big loan, educating children, enduring a long time commuting and looking for new friends. Therefore, it can be said that the citizen integration in a new town is easier than that of sprawled suburbs in metropolitan areas and the administrative efforts to make them integration are greater in a new town than in normal suburbs.
4 The citizen integration in a big housing project area in down town
The cost of housing in down town is much more expensive in down town than in suburbs. This results in the appearance of two types of down town residents. One is single people who do not need to feed the family and enjoy personally, and another is rich people like the presidents of big companies. These people do not need to keep a community and prefer to be independent from community matters. Therefore, it is usual that they do not know the profession and the family of the next door except the name and the face. Another problem of these people is their high migration rate. 10 to 20 % of these people change their residences every year. This mean nobody pays attention to the efforts of the city and the activity of the family in the next door. The only effective administrative effort is to connect single aged people to the supporting volunteer group through the telephone line to avoid the lonesome death.
5 The urban management for foreign people
The foreign people in big cities are almost forgotten from Japanese people and enjoying their independent community performed by the same country group. Japanese people also enjoy their international food and cultures especially in china towns. The foreign people in rather small cities are much more welcomed by cities and have many interchange programs prepared by the administration or the efforts of volunteer groups. The foreign students of Toyo University are enjoying the exchange program of the food and cultures with Japanese citizens periodically. The biggest problem of these people is the medical services for the illegal foreign residents. They can not receive the national service of health insurance and home relief program. In general, foreign people who are poor capability in Japanese language are enjoying a little isolated life and those who are fluent are sending the same style of life as Japanese. In these days Japanese people are too much used to them and pay no attention to them.
Japanese people are uniform in race, language, life style, food and many other aspects and it is not so serious problem to integrate them. They are forgetting the community in daily life but united in case of an emergency or in the special events. Politicians are more interested in the citizen integration than the administrative officials because of their need to get more voters in the elections. Primary schools play an important role to integrate the people in the same area, but the number of children is decreasing quickly. The average baby production rate by a couple in Japan is only 1.3 in 1998. As a whole, it seems to be necessary to awake Japanese people to notice the importance of the citizen integration and to promote their volunteer works in order to educate the future human resources to keep better communities.