The Abe Cabinet has endorsed a long-term vision for Japan's population and a five-year comprehensive strategy starting with fiscal 2015 to help revitalize the nation's regional economies, a major pillar of the Liberal Democratic Party's campaign promise for the Lower House election last month.

Given Japan's dwindling and graying population, this is a task that cannot be avoided.

It would not be realistic to expect the task to be accomplished quickly, but it is important for both the central and local governments to take effective steps promptly, because the aging and dwindling of the population are especially rapid in rural parts of Japan.