Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development
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Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development

Edited by Hans Westlund and Johan P. Larsson

The role of social capital in regional development is a multifaceted topic which is studied all over the world using various methods and across numerous disciplines. It has long been evident that social capital is important for regional development, however, it is less clear how this works in practice. Do all types of social capital have the same effects and are different kinds of regions impacted in the same way? This book is the first to offer an overview of this rapidly expanding field of research and to thoroughly analyse the complex issue of social capital and regional development.
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Chapter 16: Social capital and regional learning governance: a Japanese perspective

Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Tsuyoshi Hatori


Many rural areas in Japan now face serious problems, characterized by depopulation, a lack of young people, and a decline in community activities. The aim of this chapter is to articulate an entrepreneurial approach in Japan, with some leading examples such as constituting a possible new way for regional actors to revitalize declining rural areas through learning and collaboration. Public–private partnerships between the government and voluntary associations in an entrepreneurial approach are considered as new trends to reform social capital, and the question of how voluntary associations can be accountable to the government for an entrepreneurial program is addressed. Regional learning governance to promote an entrepreneurial approach is also discussed, and the characteristics of legitimacy capital, as a part of social capital in a business context, are examined. It is claimed that legitimacy capital plays an important role in effectively managing conflicts concerning regional development by promoting an alignment of the various interests and opinions of regional agents within a socially legitimate framework.

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