Japan Local Govts Setting Up Unique Divisions to Revitalize Economy

REUTERS/File Photo
Japanese national flag

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Many local governments in Japan created unusual departments at the beginning of fiscal 2024, which began this month, in hopes of revitalizing the local economy in innovative ways.

The town of Nishikawa in Yamagata Prefecture, northeastern Japan, newly established a “kasegu,” or moneymaking, division, aiming at securing additional financial resources.

The new division promotes a type of non-fungible token (NFT) that allows people living outside of the town to become digital citizens of Nishikawa.

“We don’t want (the relationship) to end with just one (NFT) transaction,” Tomohiro Ishikawa, head of the division, said. “We hope that people take a step further to become fans of the town.”

The town plans to host in-person and online gatherings that bring Nishikawa digital citizens together.

The Generation Z division set up at the city government of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, has four dedicated members plus 12 Gen Z employees also working at other divisions.

The Gen Z division is tasked with putting together measures to encourage more people to move into the city.

The city faces a major issue of population outflows among the younger generation, with Mayor Kazuhisa Takeuchi saying that Kitakyushu aims to turn into a city where young people want to live.

At a meeting of the division on Friday, members discussed ways to attract more people to the city center.

The city government of Kitakata in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has created a Kitakata ramen division and soba division to further promote the local cuisine of Kitakata ramen and Yamato soba buckwheat noodles.

Members of the divisions, who also work at the city government’s tourism promotion division, will come up with ideas for food-related events.