Shinzo Abe: Digging Down to Japan’s Most Valued Commodity, Community

Good PR, or just plain good leadership, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just might be one of two world leaders in “choice” situations for positive change. In a recent Facebook posting on the Prime Minister’s behalf, Mr. Abe professes a simple but elegant truism; “The nation will be vibrant only when the local regions are vibrant.”

Prime Minister Abe conversing with Oita Prefecture Governor Hirose and others

Prime Minister Abe conversing with Oita Prefecture Governor Hirose and others – Courtesy his office.

On a recent visit to the far Southern Ōita Prefecture of Japan, known traditionally as Okita-Kuni!’ Okita-Kuni or “Land of the Great Fields”, Mr. Abe sought out his people’s voice in helping him establish a growth strategy for all Japan. Of particular note on his visit, the region has been developing most recently its tourism industry related to geo-thermal resources. And energy resources being of critical Japanese and world import, the Prime Minister’s outreach may (nay should) stimulate emulation from other world leaders.

Oita prefectureCase in point, the locals in this part of Japan have been putting small scale enterprise to good use, and have motivated larger scale endeavors to broaden the “good sense” application of alternative business, and alternative thinking. Already in Japan, a so-called “Onsen Expo” is underway to entertain and inform tourists in 44 separate locals across Japan. One initiative stemming from Ōita Prefecture’s drive and ingenuity is “Steam vapor-generated electricity”, already developed on a local scale to utilize the famous hot springs in the area. What once was a key agricultural area and not a lot more, is now becoming a model for new age eco-tourism and economics. 

As the world’s most influential leaders go, Abe is at the head of the class with Russia’s Putin and a couple of others. While some countries seem mired in dismal bad news, one of the hardest hit people on Earth catastrophe and economics wise, Japan almost miraculously holds its head up, and Abe with them. This story on Slate speaks of the Prime Minister in almost reverent terms, as something of a savior for Japan. With Sony posting their first profit since 2008 as the lead in, everything from the Japanese stock market to the local people of the far off Islands has been more positive since Abe took the helm. Savior? It’s actually not too big a stretch.

Japan Prime Minister speaks with workers.

Prime Minister attending a meeting for an exchange of views with tourism workers at the Kannawa hot spring area

Finally, Abenomics detractors say the Prime Minister’s plans are short term and short sighted, but the outreach to communities, and Abe’s idealism planting roots in faraway precincts, these actions speak more of long range goals to this writer. Unless I am mistaken, Japan has just walked back onto the world stage, and not in victim mode.

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