Since World War II, urban planning in Japan has undergone a profound transformation, despite important political and economic continuities. The last two decades in particular have seen major changes in terms of urban governance and relations between the center and the periphery, the national government, WKH PXQLFLSDOLWLHV DQG WKH FLWL]HQU\ 'H:LW 7KH RQJRLQJ SURFHVV RI WKH UHGLVWULEXWLRQ RI SROLWLFDO SRZHU DQG ÀQDQFLDO UHVSRQVLELOLWLHV DV ZHOO DV spatial restructuring are particularly visible in the relationship between the capital city, Tokyo, and the peripheral areas and fall under the broad headings RI ´GHFHQWUDOL]DWLRQµ DQG ´DXWRQRP\µ $OWKRXJK WKH SUREOHPDWLF UHODWLRQVKLS between center and periphery is a thread that runs through Japanese history )XNDVKLPDQ\RIWKHVHFKDQJHVDUHURRWHGLQWKH´UDSLGJURZWKµSKDVHRI WKHVDQGLQQHZWHFKQRORJLFDODQGVRFLRHFRQRPLFFRQGLWLRQVWKHFXOWXUHRI the automobile and the high-speed train, for example). 7KH1HZ&LW\3ODQQLQJ$FWRIshin toshi keikaku hô) – despite the fact
WKDWPDQ\RILWVRULJLQDODPELWLRQVZHUHXQUHDOL]HGVHHDOVR&KDSWHUVDQGE\ ,VKLGD<RULIXVDDQG$QGUp6RUHQVHQLQWKLVYROXPH²DQGWKHFUHDWLRQRIWKHÀUVW 1DWLRQDO/DQG$JHQF\KokudochôLQUHÁHFWHGDQDWWHPSWDWOHDVWLQWKHory, to decentralize power and give more rights to citizens and local governments. 6LQFHWKHVWKHUHGLVWULEXWLRQRISROLWLFDOSRZHUKDVJRQHKDQGLQKDQGZLWK globalization, the relocation of Japanese industries overseas, and their insertion LQWRWKHJOREDOÀQDQFLDOHFRQRP\DVZHOODVUHGHSOR\PHQWZLWKLQWKHERXQGDULHV of the Japanese archipelago and reconcentration within the megalopolises, most QRWDEO\7RN\R%HUTXH2YHUWKHVDPHSHULRGWKH-DSDQHVHJRYHUQment has promoted decentralization through policy measures such as the new /DZ IRU WKH3URPRWLRQRI'HFHQWUDOL]DWLRQ chihô bunken suishinhô) issued in 0D\VHH&KDSWHUE\+HLQDQG3HOOHWLHULQWKLVYROXPH$WWKHVDPHWLPH other policies effectively counteracted the transfer of national power to local institutions. Notably the reform of the central administration pursued since January 2001 – aimed at reducing the number of ministries and governmental agencies ²KDVHIIHFWLYHO\UHLQIRUFHGWKHSRZHUDQGHIÀFLHQF\RIWKHQDWLRQDOJRYHUQPHQW UDLVLQJPXOWLSOHTXHVWLRQVVXFKDV:KDWDUH WKHSROLWLFDOHFRQRPLFÀQDQFLDO social, and cultural contexts, ties, and interests that help to maintain the status quo of the highly centralized Japanese structure as well as those that push for a
redistribution of political power, economic infrastructure, and population to the SHULSKHU\"+RZGRHVGHFHQWUDOL]DWLRQÀWLQWRWKHODUJHUSLFWXUHRISXEOLFSURMHFWV LQ-DSDQ"+RZGRJOREDOL]DWLRQDQGWKHUHTXHVWIRUVWUHQJWKHQHGORFDOSRZHUVÀW LQWRWKHGLVFXVVLRQRQGHFHQWUDOL]DWLRQDQGDXWRQRP\",QWKLVFRPSOH[GLVFXVVLRQ WKHUROHRI7RN\RLVDVSHFLDORQH4XHVWLRQVWKDWQHHGWREHDQVZHUHGLQFOXGH What role do cities – and particularly the capital, Tokyo, as the political capital and economic metropolis, seat of the government, major companies, educational DQGFXOWXUDOIDFLOLWLHV²SOD\LQWKHFRQWH[WRIFHQWUDOL]DWLRQDQGGHFHQWUDOL]DWLRQ"
The capital city of Tokyo: the heart of decentralization policies The complexity of decentralization movements in Japan, and their implications for urban as well as many other issues, can only be understood through an analysis of the relationship between Tokyo – established as Edo by the Tokugawa shoguns LQ ² DQGRWKHU XUEDQ DUHDV LQ -DSDQ)ROORZLQJ LWV FUHDWLRQ(GRTXLFNO\ became one of the largest metropolises, if not the largest, of its time. Through the system of sankin kôtai DOWHUQDWHDWWHQGDQFHSURYLQFLDO ORUGVZHUHUHTXLUHGWR regularly spend time in the shogunal capital, thereby increasing its population. The 0HLMLUHVWRUDWLRQLQPHDQWIXUWKHUFHQWUDOL]DWLRQRISROLWLFVDQGXOWLPDWHO\ population in Tokyo. In the early years of modern Japan, the city experienced a steep decline in population, as the members of the provincial aristocracy returned to their home towns. This development left the center of the city outside the shogunal palace gates empty and ready to host new capital functions without having to displace or relocate citizens established in the area. As the population experienced a second rapid increase in the late nineteenth century, Tokyo became home to the national government and a new business district – located just outside the shogunal palace – and major infrastructure programs, including a new railway and the Tokyo station.