Michio Watanabe

For Michio Watanabe's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Seaplanes touted as tourism lifeline in regional Japan

Business Oct 19, 2016

Seaplanes touted as tourism lifeline in regional Japan

Seaplanes used to be a common form of transport in the Japanese archipelago, with scheduled cargo and passenger flights operating mainly in western Japan until the mid-1960s. But as shinkansen trains and regional airports, which enable faster transport links with greater capacity, developed, seaplanes were ...

Big business creeps into agriculture as farmers dwindle

National Aug 4, 2016

Big business creeps into agriculture as farmers dwindle

With traditional family farms on the wane, corporations are increasingly entering the agriculture sector, taking advantage of an updated law allowing them to lease farmland across the country. At the end of 2015, more than 2,000 companies were operating in the farm sector, a roughly ...

Toyooka, home of storks, pushes for rural revival

National Oct 8, 2015

Toyooka, home of storks, pushes for rural revival

Reviving Japan's once-extinct stork population is not just a story of conservation in the city of Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture. It is also the tale of a provincial region reinventing itself to prevent its population following the species into endangered status. In common with many regions ...