Urban regeneration and neo-liberal state reform: changing roles of cities in the Japanese developmental state
This chapter considers state neo-liberalization in relation to the interactions between Japan’s developmental state culture and the role of cities within it. Urban planning has always been the central component of Japan’s national development. At some times, state leaders planned focused urban growth to industrialize the country effectively while at other times they planned balanced urbanization to ensure spatial equality. Since the early 1990s, Japan has been in a long economic recession and in recent years its leaders have applied bold strategies to turn around the stagnation. The general principle for the strategies is that of ‘concentration and selection’, by which the leaders mean the re-emphasis of planning effectiveness based on rational decision making, rather than maintaining a balanced distribution for reasons of equity and political expediency.