Nearly 40% of rural residents say their communities face decline

JIJI

A Cabinet Office opinion survey has revealed that 37.6 percent of people living in rural areas of the country expect their communities will decline.

Of 700 respondents living in farming or fishing villages, only 13.6 percent said they believe their areas will be revitalized, according to a report on the survey released on Saturday.

Although the government is making efforts to revitalize regional economies in a bid to cope with Japan’s depopulation, the survey showed that many rural residents have a sense of crisis about their communities’ prospects.

Asked about problems the respondents face in living in rural areas, with multiple answers allowed, 32.7 percent pointed to a scarcity of job opportunities, 31.7 percent cited lack of transportation, and 30.9 percent complained about shortages of shopping and entertainment facilities.

Such issues were also cited by urban residents when asked about stumbling blocks to settling in rural areas.

The survey found that 31.6 percent of 1,147 respondents living in urban communities hope to or would rather live in rural areas, up 11.0 percentage points from the previous survey in November 2005.

Asked what is needed for people to relocate to rural locations, with multiple answers allowed, 68 percent cited medical institutions, 61.6 percent cited job opportunities and 47.2 percent pointed said lower prices for houses and land.

A total of 3,000 adults were interviewed across Japan in the survey, which was conducted June 12-22. Valid answers were received from 62.7 percent of the total.