In this paper, I clarify the process of promoting successors for regional development coordinator in Japan where the population supporting the regional economy is decreasing. Especially, I focus on local cities where the population declines remarkably and show how to grow successors of regional development in business. This work provides some insights that respond efficiently and flexibly to problems through sustainable self-reflection and original work.In addition, the results can help coordinators to improve their behavior.
Keywords: Regional development, Self-reflection, Participant observation, Coordinator
Japan is facing a problem of economic decline due to a decreasing labor population and an increasing elderly population. By that influence, municipalities and businesses have not been able to continue to work without successors. Especially, depopulation is in progress, especially in rural areas. Regional activities such as “community development “and “town development” are gathering attention to maintain and develop the economies of the areas where these problems occur. Among them, the “regional coordinator” adjusts how to solve regional problems andpromote regional coordinator as an important role in regional activities.
However, it has not been clear how the “regional coordinator” is developing in regional development coordinator in Japan. In addition, othe problems such as labor, cost and time of building new human resources as successors have emerged as an important topic. Moreover, a problem that arises not only in community development but also in the company environment is the “regional activities”. It is conducted without “the reason why community development is necessary”. Therefore, this research assumes that the regional economy is not dependent on administrative subsidies, but that the region itself is “to maintain culture and society”. It focuses on finding a way to be “sustainable and economically independent” and successor responsible for regional development focus on regional activities.
The purpose of this research is to clarify how to train regional successor by taking participant observation in community-based companies as regional coordinators.By this way, both the regional coordinator and the successor will clarify the mechanism of how the knowledge on training is accumulated and how they are inherited. Regional development is structured by three elements: “Industry creation”, “Creating a place” and “Human resource”. Among them, despite the importance of “Human resource”  is pointed out, how to bring up the regional successor is not revealed . Nanao city and Ishikawa prefecture, whichare survey in this study, are located about 80 km northeast from the economic centerof Ishikawa. Kanazawa city, with a population of about 53,000 people and an area of 318.32 km2, has an extensive fishing industry.Nanao city has one of the festival called “mikoshi”(a sacred palanquin). The mikoshi is a special carriage for the gods (attendants are people who walk and sing alongside it). Moreover, trade in Hokkaido from the 17th century (Kitamae ship) was also flourishing.
In recent years, about 30% of the population of Nanao city has become elderly people over 65 years old and thus young people are required as regional successors. This paper shows how the successor can solve regional problemsby participating the internshipat the company “Misogigawa Co., Ltd.” whichinvolve inbuilding such regional successor and giving guidance to intern students. There are several intern students. They are in charge of working at the meeting. The teaching method adapts OJT, but the problem is always shared with employees and interns directly or through information exchange via the Internet by using “cloud” such as Google Drive. However, by sharing alone, OJT does not require the skills to deal with various problems. For this reason, the author watched the work contracted by intern students inthe site of OJT and described what kind of guidance the employees train regional successor.
Result and discussion:
Besides meetingwith employees, interns (= students) also wrote documents for self-reflection, which are called “retrospect sheets” every work or project ends. The content of the document is suitable for reflection and improvement points. Employees get hints from the improvement points about their teaching methods. Then, “familiar” with residents of local cities, OJT was conducted not only from employees but also from the residents. By that employees’ paper-based education and information sharing with interns by utilizing the Internet technology can make the jobs efficiently and smoothly.
The series of actions shown in this result are the PDCA cycle and the SECI model. Every time one work is over, they strongly impressed by having retrospective and remedial measures. In addition, they can deal with similar situations in the future. Employee also gained hints for improving educational methods for interns from the document. In modern society, almost works depend on the Internet system such as mobile phones. Moreover, the self-reflection using the document such as the knowledge “Yugard” gathered by the predecessors, and “New Gard” which is the combination of modern new iterative self-reflection “Yugard” is created.
Thestrategy of this research is toparticipate observationto the regional community development company as I am an intern sudent. Thetargets of the observation are the behavior of OJT and intern between employees and interns. The period of this research is from July 1st 2018 to the end of Sep 2018.
In this research, intern students gained the experiencefrom self-reflection and self-growing materials. It is the opportunities for the coordinators too. However, this research could not visualize the level of understanding for the. In future work, this problem should be considered.
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Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), JAPAN