Governing Agricultural Land in Japan: Adoption of the Farmland Bank Program in a Hilled Rural Community
Maiko Nishi PhD Candidate, Columbia GSAPP
Agricultural land is not only a rural and local concern but increasingly of interest to actors at different levels of the globalizing society. Japan’s government recently introduced the Farmland Bank program in an attempt to curb farmland abandonment and revitalize the farming sector. The program is designed to bring new actors and resources into farmland tenancy so as to promote large-scale farming for better economy of scale. By design, it allows the Banks to accommodate tenants, including business corporations and outsider farmers, in tenancy arrangements without landowners’ consent. This is a major turning point in agrarian reform since the postwar era when farmers have been given the role as primary decision makers in private farmland use. By drawing on the case study of a hilled rural community in Ishikawa Prefecture, this talk examines the farmers’ negotiating perspectives to farmland in the process of governing farmland, which help address the questions of why and how farmers accept the program.