The Japan Times launched the Satoyama Consortium in January to promote the efforts of local practitioners in what is known as “satoyama capitalism.”
The term satoyama refers to a shared woodlot used and maintained by area residents. This capitalism utilizing satoyama is used to describe the creation of new forms of revenue by taking advantage of natural resources that do not necessarily have monetary value.
The concept, which became widely known following the release of the book “Satoyama Capitalism” in 2013, is said to have revitalized regions by stimulating the use of previously overlooked natural resources and creating jobs for area residents. It is believed to help contribute to a sustainable society, complementing conventional capitalism.
However, the significance and results of these efforts have not been well promoted, meaning the understanding of, and support for, these activities is not widespread. This led The Japan Times to create the consortium for further promotion of the activities, especially in English, by relevant parties across the country.
With this consortium, The Japan Times has organized various events, including the Satoyama Cafe seminars that invite individuals who have been active in the relevant fields, in addition to a symposium in February to commemorate the launch of the consortium.
It also plans to organize exchange events with local satoyama practitioners, as well as study tours to sites where these activities are taking place across Japan.
As part of its consortium efforts, The Japan Times hosted the inaugural symposium on May 16 in Tokyo.
This supplement covers the symposium, consisting of three sessions in which advocates, representatives from municipalities and satoyama practitioners discussed their ideas and engagements in their respective fields. The supplement also covers some of the consortium’s activities to give relevant parties and readers a clearer picture of its initiatives.
The consortium is headed by Minako Suematsu, chairperson and representative director of The Japan Times. The consortium’s secretariat chief is Yuto Yoshida, former mayor of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and current guest researcher at Waseda University’s Environmental Research Institute.
Kosuke Motani, chief senior economist at the Japan Research Institute Ltd., Kyosuke Inoue, executive producer of NHK Enterprises, Inc., and Tadashi Mitachi, senior adviser of The Boston Consulting Group K.K., are on its advisory board. The management committee of the consortium is chaired by Tadashi Matsushima, representative director of Setouchi Jam’s Garden Co., while Eikei Suzuki, governor of Mie Prefecture, and Masataka Ota, chief consultant of JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co., serve as vice-chairmen.