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Politics

Panel pitches ways to give Japan's fading regions a boost

TOKYO -- Luring companies and families to keep far-flung communities viable even as their populations shrink is on the table for a government panel charged with revitalizing the regional economies of Japan.

     Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who heads the Headquarters for Formulating Measures for Building Up Towns, People and Jobs, asked members at a meeting Friday to "create specific policies with special attention to providing financial aid, securing manpower and moving company headquarters."

     The panel identified five key topics in regional revitalization, including employment, child care and migration patterns. It discussed providing aid to people moving to less-populated regions, calling on more businesses to leave big cities, and revitalizing regional universities. Aid could also be handed out to families with many children or multigenerational households.

     The government could financially support local authorities in providing measures that best fit their specific needs.

     The panel also discussed pushing towns and villages to cut administrative costs by consolidating into smaller areas. It hopes to streamline hospitals and other social services, and to introduce policies that incentivize residents to move into the centers of these communities.

     The committee is expected to finalize its general strategy through 2020, as well as a longer-term 50-year vision, within the year.

(Nikkei)

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