本文主要的目的，是要嘗試分析日本在20世紀末所面臨的一連串地方分權改革，有沒有一條清晰可辨的歷史路徑可資概括理解，又在這樣的理解路徑之下，地方分權改革是否有效的達成其目的？ 在回應全球化以及世界性的行政改革浪潮中，日本在推動中央政府改革的同時也推動了地方分權化的改革。但明治時期開始的中央集權體制，造成了東京一極集中等各式各樣的問題，再加上地方過疏化現象以及少子高齡化問題，地方活力因此嚴重低迷。 本文首先分別敘述日本少子高齡化及過疏化的發展與成因，並實際走訪日本當地，透過訪問等方式，調查地方上的人們面對到了什麼難題，又如何透過自力改革來解決，並以此為背景對照日本的地方自治改革發展，發現日本在中央集權的思維下，所做的改革多是為了有效施行中央政府所做的政策，也就是所謂的「三成自治」，因此難以評估地方自治改革在各個階段中所遭遇到的困境與成效。 這樣的發展在近年來有了明顯的轉變，轉變的契機乃是由於傳統上由國家與地方政治菁英主導的地方自治改革，開始轉變為由住民自己主導並以住民實際需求為導向的地域活性化活動。也就是說，由地方上的住民，為了住民本身的需要所展開的自主性改革。最近提倡的「大阪都構想」、「道州制」等，也可看到這方面的傾向。本文將描述這種地域活性化的活動與東京一極集中現象之間的互動關係，並一併試著指出日本地方分權改革與地域主權確立的可能解決方案。 The main idea of this paper is to try to make an analysis on the Japanese local self-government reformation at the end of the 20th century. Furthermore, the research under that idea should be capable of providing a clear thread of the entire reformation as well as its social and history backgrounds, and of checking if the reformation succeeded in any goals it intended to achieve. During the globalization and the world-wide reformation of government administration, Japan made reformations on both central government and local self-government. The political centralization of the Japanese nation power began early from the Meiji era and resulted in various problems nowadays including the so-called Tokyo centralization. These problems accompanied by the depopulation in non-Tokyo areas and the rapid declining of the birth rate all over the country are responsible for the local devitalization in non-Tokyo areas. This research begins with the population ageing and the depopulation problems by means of both literature review and field research. In the field research, the problems people encountered and the efforts they made can be derived and shown at first hand. Under such knowledge and backgrounds, this research re-confirms the so-called ‘30% self-government’ phenomenon and therefore concludes that it is hard to say that the entire reformation succeeded in reaching any goals at any level. Nevertheless, the situation changed dramatically in recent years. The turning point is that the local citizens, instead of the central government itself or the political elites, start to make their ways to revitalize local area by their own hands to meet their particular needs. Such ideas are founded in the arguments, such as Osaka Metropolis Plan and the Federated State. The research illustrates the interaction between this kind of local revitalization activities and the Tokyo centralization phenomenon, and then takes one step further towards the future reformation of the Japanese local self-government.