Akio Kamiko (Ritsumeikan University)
Recently, Japan is faced with depopulation and, partly due to it, ageing of population. In this situation, Japan saw a large scale amalgamation of municipalities, its lowermost level local governments. These local governments function as the basic units of local democracy, choosing their chief executive officers and local assemblymen through elections. Also they works as units for the purpose of health insurance and long term-care insurance, which means that insurance fee for these schemes are calculated in these units and are different from each other. These years, equalization schemes in the finance of these schemes are expanded but still municipalities perform large roles in those schemes whose importance is definitely increasing in the ageing society.
The number of municipalities were reduced from over 3,000 to a little more than 1,700 in just a dozen of years. Naturally, this means that the scale of democracy was pushed up, however, in rural areas where population reduction is especially conspicuous, this reduction in number of municipalities may not have led to the increased size of democracy, especially seen in the longer period. In this paper, I will look into this matter taking account of the statistics of people by age groups.
Theme A: Public Sector Transformations
Institutional and Policy Innovations and Reforms towards Sustainable Development