Regional Fieldwork and Revitalization Plans
Professor, Faculty of Economics, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Accounting, Environmental Accounting, Meso-accounting
Regional revitalization has been marked as an important policy issue. This has led to a call for human resources who have an accurate understanding of regional features and work with companies, local government, and NPOs to promote regional innovation based on close communication with local residents. It is hoped that such human resources will assume roles in the general management of organizations and regions. As part of its globalization of education, Chuo University has initiated fieldwork giving students an experience of Japan’s different regions and launched efforts to create concrete business plans for regional revitalization based on this experience.
Universities Relying on the Tokyo Region, and the Globalization of Education
About 64 percent of those who took Chuo University entrance exams for the 2015 academic year came from the Tokyo region, including Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba Prefectures, which was a two percent increase from the previous year. If we look at applicants from the Greater Tokyo Area by adding those from Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, and Yamanashi Prefectures, the figure goes up to about 72 percent (a two percent increase from the previous year). As you can see from these figures, Chuo University is an institution that relies on the Greater Tokyo Area.
Meanwhile, in recent years, Chuo University has been promoting initiatives for global education, actively sending and receiving students across national borders through overseas internships and exchange programs, and striving to develop “global human resources”—youths who can contribute in the global arena. As an example, the Faculty of Economics secured a competitive budget from Chuo University for the Educational Improvement Project (2013-2015 academic years) and launched the Global Leaders Program with the 2014 academic year to foster global youths as part of the project. The program not only aims to improve TOEIC scores and communication skills, but requires overseas fieldwork as part of the practicum.
So Chuo University, a university of the Tokyo region, is promoting initiatives for global education. As a result, it has been globally deploying students who know nothing but the Tokyo region and has only been able to offer students from abroad an experience of the Tokyo region, despite the diverse range of cultures that exist throughout other regions in Japan.
Fieldwork in Disaster Areas and Hilly and Mountainous Areas
In light of this situation, the Global Leaders Program has prepared an option for students to do fieldwork in Japan. In my seminars, students conduct fact-finding surveys of reconstruction assistance in areas struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake, gain agriculture and forestry experience in hilly and mountainous areas, and try to create concrete business plans for the reconstruction and revitalization of these areas based on their experiences.
For the summer camp in September of the 2014 academic year, students gained agricultural experience and conducted surveys of biomass recycling and regional revitalization efforts (Ogal Project) in Shiwa, Iwate under the guidance of the NPO Shiwa Mirai Institute (Shiwa Agriculture Project). The Ogal Project is an initiative to establish libraries, fresh produce markets, hotels and other attractions on the town land around a train station opened by petition through the development by public-private partnerships (PPPs).
During the spring camp in March, students conducted surveys of reconstruction assistance projects in disaster areas such as Kamaishi and Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture, gained forestry experience in Tono, and explored development of sixth sector industrialization of wood and wood products under the guidance of Fuji Xerox’s Reconstruction Promotion Office. Fuji Xerox’s reconstruction assistance projects are a representative example of Creating Shared Value (CSV), a concept in which companies and local communities work together to create value.
Drawing on this fieldwork, the seminars for the 2015 academic year will take students to cities and towns like Shiwa, Kamaishi, and Tono to do fieldwork and create concrete business plans. Given Japan’s financial state, we cannot continue to rely on the existing model of regional development that depends on government aid. We must create a business model of partnership among companies, local government, NPOs, and other organizations to capitalize on regional resources like agriculture, forestry and biomass businesses and revitalize regional economies with minimal reliance on government aid.
Since my seminars are on accounting and environmental accounting, we use management and accounting techniques when we flesh out business plans to analyze how they would increase sales, where they would increase costs, and the economic and environmental effects throughout regional supply chains and industrial clusters. I plan to continue fieldwork in Shiwa, Kamaishi, and Tono for the 2015 academic year.
Shiwa: Harvesting rice with the company Aguri Shiwa
Shiwa: Harvesting rice at Eiko Hosokawa’s farm
Shiwa: Working at Chuichi Takanohashi’s farm
Shiwa: Harvesting grapes at the commercial farm Takahashi Noen
Otsuchi: Learning about the damage caused by the tsunami from a storyteller at the foundation Oraga Otsuchi Yume Hiroba
Visiting the tsunami-damaged Otsuchi Town Hall (Storyteller-guided Otsuchi Tour provided by Oraga Otsuchi Yume Hiroba)
Kamaishi: Fact-finding survey on aging, depopulation and the disappearance of villages in hilly and mountainous areas coordinated with the general incorporated association United Green
Reflecting on fieldwork at Fuji Xerox’s Tono Miraizukuri College (Tono)
Chuo University, a university of the Tokyo region, has launched efforts to give students an experience of Japan’s various regions through cooperation with companies, local government, and NPOs in the context of promoting the initiatives for global education. Students will continue to study Japan’s diverse cultures for their fieldwork as they work to become global youths. These global youths will, we believe, initiate regional innovation and assume roles in the general management of organizations and regions. We can say that the goals of regional revitalization set by the Abe Cabinet are linked with the initiatives for global education in unexpected ways.
Shiwa: Observing biomass recycling at the Eco 3 Center
Shiwa: Harvesting grapes at Mikiko Matsuzaka’s orchard
Otsuchi: Observing the tsunami damage to the Akahama area of Otsuchi (Storyteller-guided Otsuchi Tour provided by Oraga Otsuchi Yume Hiroba)
- Yoshihisa Maruyama
Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Accounting, Environmental Accounting, Meso-accounting
- Professor Maruyama was born in 1972 in Chiba Prefecture. He graduated from the Department of International Economics, Faculty of Economics, Chuo University in 1995.
Professor Maruyama completed the master’s program at the Graduate School of Economics, Chuo University in 1997, and completed the doctoral program without receiving a degree at the Graduate School of Economics, Chuo University in 2001.
He completed the doctoral program and received a PhD in Accounting from the Graduate School of Economics, Chuo University in 2009.
Professor Maruyama assumed his current position in 2011 after serving as a full-time lecturer on the Faculty of Commercial Sciences and a full-time lecturer, and associate professor on the Faculty of Human Environmental Studies at Hiroshima Shudo University.
His current research project is environmental accounting (meso-accounting) that evaluates new businesses and projects which use resources in disaster sites and hilly and mountainous areas to revitalize regions based on the economic/environmental impact of these enterprises on the entire region.
His major publications include Accounting and Society: The Perspectives of Micro-accounting, Meso-accounting and Macro-accounting [Kaikei to Shakai: Mikuro Kaikei/Meso Kaikei/Makuro Kaikei no Shiten kara] (co-authored, Chuo University Press, 2015), Deepening Local Autonomy [Chihō Jichi no Shinka] (co-authored, Seibunsha, 2014), and Regional Development Utilizing Forest Biomass: Key Industrial Clusters [Shinrin Baiomasu Katsuyō no Chiiki Kaihatsu: Kagi o Nigiru Sangyō Kurasutā] (co-authored, Chuokeizai-sha, 2013).
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- Roundtable with Joban Kosan Chairman and Executive Director Kazuhiko Saito and Class of 2014 Graduates :Reflecting the path to recovery and post-quake Tohoku
Student journalists report on the students’ take of Chuo University
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