A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘fogo island

[ISL] Five #islands links: Shoal Lake 40, Martha’s Vineyard, Fogo, Ramea, Barbados

  • Maclean’s reports on how, a century after Shoal Lake 40 First Nation was made an island to provide drinking water for Winnipeg, it finally was connected to the mainland by a road.
  • CityLab reports on how the pressures of the tourist season make it difficult for many permanent residents of Martha’s Vineyard to maintain homes.
  • Fogo Island, Newfoundland, recently celebrated its first Pride Walk. CBC reports.
  • Yvette D’Entremont writes at the Toronto Star about how the diaspora of the Newfoundland fishing island of Ramea have gathered together for regular reunions.
  • J.M. Opal writes at The Conversation about the origins of white Anglo-American racism in 17th century Barbados.

[NEWS] Five notes from islands: Fogo and Newfoundland, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Just Enough Island, PEI

    Jessica Leeder reports on how, with the fragile recovery of the Newfoundland cod fisheries, Fogo Island is investigating the fisheries’ new potential, over at The Globe and Mail.

  • This Atlas Obscura feature takes a look at the endangered Puerto Rico parrot, the iguaca, facing dire conditions after Hurricane Maria.
  • Gerry Lynch makes the argument that, by torpedoing the Brexit agreement, the DUP and the Unionists have set the stage for eventual Irish reunification, over at Slugger O’Toole.
  • Atlas Obscura takes a quick look at Just Enough Island, one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence between Ontario and New York literally just big enough to support a cottage and two chairs in the front.
  • Éric Grenier suggests that, after the Green Party’s Hannah Bell won a byelection in Charlottetown, the Green Party should look to Atlantic Canada for breakthroughs, over at CBC.

[ISL] “Japan’s Medieval Islands of Exile Lure Young Workers”

Bloomberg’s Chikako Mogi describes how Japan’s Oki Islands managed to reverse a trend of depopulation and economic decline.

This is interesting news, but I don’t think this will be replicable more widely across Japan. Why?

1. In Japan more so than in almost every other developed countries, native populations are declining with very few people coming from outside. The number of potential migrants is a shrinking resource.

2. Back in 2010, I noted that while Newfoundland’s Fogo Island had managed a revival based on niche tourism, this is an option open to only a relatively few places. Newfoundland’s islands and outports couldn’t all become niche tourist destinations. The same kind of thing holds for Japan’s islands and outlying areas.

The remote outposts that were used for centuries by medieval rulers to banish rivals have become a model for regional revival as Ama, on one of the four islets, attracts economic migrants from the mainland.

Through steps including expanding seafood exports, debt reduction and a revamp of the high school to provide a platform for entry to top colleges, the town found a recipe for countering the plight of demographic decline. With about 900 Japanese local districts at risk of becoming ghost towns in a generation, Ama’s success off the west coast has caught attention from the Abe administration — and Australian educators.

“Ama got serious because it was in real difficulty,” said Hideaki Tanaka, who teaches governance at Meiji University in Tokyo. “Many places that rely on government support feel comfortable with the status quo but resources are limited and it’s unsustainable.”

Mayor Michio Yamauchi saw the writing on the wall in 2004. With 10.15 billion yen ($100 million) in debt to the national government and less than 5 percent of the money needed to pay that back, Ama was on the road to bankruptcy.

The town’s population had shrunk by two-thirds over the post-war period to fewer than 2,400 people. Two of every five residents were elderly. Even so, Ama still poured money into public works, increasing its debt burden without creating jobs.

“I decided to slash spending and remove waste, even if it meant reducing public amenities,” Yamauchi, 76, said by telephone from his office. “I cut my own salary to convince everyone of my resolve.”

While avoiding fiscal disaster was vital, that’s not the only lesson Ama holds, said Akiyoshi Takumori, chief economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.

Just as importantly, the town focused the economy on local specialties, expanded its sales and marketing networks, and attracted young people, according to Takumori.

Ama accomplished much of this with a public-private seafood company, which drew migrants like Toru Fujii, 44, and his wife Yuko, 46.

The pair relocated with two children in 2005 after Fujii tired of his administrative job in Nagano in central Japan and answered an advertisement to help set up the venture, called Furusato Ama.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 5, 2014 at 7:20 pm