Social Capital and Rural Development in the Knowledge Society
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Social Capital and Rural Development in the Knowledge Society

Edited by Hans Westlund and Kiyoshi Kobayashi

Social capital is often considered a key factor for local development. This book analyzes the role of social capital for rural areas’ survival and development in the current age of metropolitan growth – an era in which urban is the norm and where rural areas must adapt to this new situation and build innovative urban-rural relations.
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Chapter 6: Changes in social capital and community functions in depopulated areas from case studies of 12 communities in the San’in district

Katsuhisa Ito


The Japanese population is said to have peaked in 2006, while a declining birthrate and an aging society are future certainties. Rural and mountainous areas are facing a rapidly declining birthrate in addition to an aging population and have already entered a natural attrition phase. Compared to the national average of 20 percent (2005), the rate of aged people (more than 65 years old) in rural and mountainous areas stands at a high 28 percent, and aging conditions in these areas are said to be 20 years ahead of the nation as a whole. Rural and mountainous areas typically display the following Characteristics.

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