The economy of Japan went into a period of soaring growth since 1995. With that, came a rapid increase in job vacancies specifically for young population. The population of agricultural mountain area and fishing village is moving toward cities. Due to this concentration of population, the population of major cities is becoming too dense. The decreasing population makes it difficult for agricultural mountain area and fishing village to maintain basic functions such as disaster precaution, education, and medication. The local production mechanism is also downgrading to form into sparsely populated area.
Dealing with occurring social problems of local depopulation, declining birthrate, and aging issues in Japan, in recent years, the depopulated areas are undergoing various policies to activate and improve productive insufficiency, low productive mechanism, and basic livelihood functions. Under these circumstances, the upper reaches of Chikuma, Kawakami Village, which is known as the isolated region of Kawakami Village, has somehow avoided this trend of depopulation.
In the past, Kawakami Village had the opportunities of development by using packhorse, draft horse, railway, and vehicles. Nonetheless, the development of transportation does not only signify liberation from its geographic location, it also denotes the vigorous characteristics of the people in Kawakami Village. Since the time of 大正, and the build of railway systems, Kawakami Village’s rigorous attitude as shown in rice growing, forestry, livestock products, and silkworm raising in any phases, its grasp and sensitivity in the trend of the time, all these are the key elements for Kawakami Village to become an index of summer lettuce production among the few areas in Japan.
In other terms, with the development of transportation, Kawakami Village is transformed from isolated area to cold upland. Formerly, the agriculture of Kawakami Village was one of pristine, self-sufficient cereal targeted farming. With the development of railway and vehicles, Kawakami Village, once a region of limited natural resources, has turned to make use of the cool summer climate, and commenced to grow cold-upland vegetables; the region has then developed into free truck farming. Billions of yen in sales of vegetables have become the economic buttress of Kawakami Village, and has therefore restrained the loss of population and avoided the occurrence of depopulation.
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the development process of Kawakami Village. In the meantime, facing the problems of depopulation in Taiwan, be it an ongoing process or a probability in any regions, this paper provides a reference for the making of activating policies and precautionary policies.