Digitization initiative eyed to spur regional migration

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo

The Cabinet approved a five-year comprehensive strategy to develop the digital environment in rural areas and promote regional development on Friday.

Dubbed “Vision for a Digital Garden City Nation,” the comprehensive strategy aims to increase the number of people moving from the Tokyo area to rural regions to 10,000 per year by fiscal 2027, and to increase the number of municipalities engaging in digitization to 1,500 nationwide.

The government aims to improve the child-rearing and employment environment to revitalize regional communities. It also plans to focus on digitization in rural areas in an effort to eliminate the digital divide between urban and rural regions.

The initiative calls for the creation of office developments in which companies based in urban areas will be able to operate satellite facilities in 1,200 regional municipalities as part of efforts to increase migration.

The strategy includes a plan to secure 50,000 members for a “digital promotion committee” by fiscal 2027 to teach senior citizens how to use digital devices.

The rollout of unmanned transportation services in more than 100 locations is also proposed in the initiative.

By fiscal 2025, the strategy aims to ensure all elementary and junior high schools have access to digital devices on a daily basis. An online consultation system at municipal family centers will also be offered to support parents raising children.

The strategy also includes a commitment to develop digital transportation services in 700 municipalities.

Measures to promote the use of My Number identification cards are specified in the strategy. The government aims to develop a nationwide service that will allow My Number cardholders to receive discounts on bus fares and other services by linking the identification card to transportation IC cards such as Suica.

The digital garden city vision, a part of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s growth strategy, aims to redress the concentration of people in the Tokyo metropolitan area and create regional development by improving the digital environment in rural areas.