Japan to Move Government Agencies Out of Tokyo

May 8, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. decentralize / diˈsɛn trəˌlaɪz / (v.) – to spread power, such as that of the government, from the center
Example: The government is decentralizing by giving power to regions outside the capital.

2. revitalize / riˈvaɪt lˌaɪz / (v.) – to restore liveliness to something
Example: The tourism industry was revitalized after new tourist attractions were built in the country.
3. retain / rɪˈteɪn / (v.) – to keep something in a certain condition or place
Example: The place retained its beauty through the years.

4. call upon / ˈkɔl əˈpɒn / (phrasal v.) – to request or order someone to do something
Example: The president called upon his people to support local products.

5. feasibility / ˌfiːzəˈbɪləti / (n.) – the state of being doable
Example: The company is looking into the feasibility of expanding to the countryside.


Read the text below.
Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency will be moving from Tokyo to Kyoto in a few years.

The relocation, which was announced on March 22, is part of the Japanese government’s efforts to decentralize the country and revitalize the regions outside the capital. Kyoto was chosen for the relocation of the Cultural Affairs Agency because of the abundance in traditional cultural heritage in the prefecture. Governor Keiji Yamada of Kyoto said in a news conference that the decision shows that Kyoto is recognized as the country’s cultural network center.

Details about the relocation will be finalized by the end of this year, but the government plans to retain some of the agency’s functions in Tokyo. The Cultural Affairs Agency will be the first government office to move out of Tokyo, and the government is considering the relocation of many others.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping that the relocations would have great effects to regions outside the capital. For instance, the government hopes that by spreading power throughout the country, businesses will be encouraged to move outside Tokyo and job opportunities will increase in other regions.

The national government has called upon local governments of prefectures outside Tokyo, except a few that are near the capital, to submit proposals detailing which government office or function they would like to host in their region.

So far, Tokushima Prefecture has volunteered to host the Consumer Affairs Agency, and Wakayama Prefecture hopes to host the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ statistics arm. The government will conduct feasibility tests, such as the assessment of communication systems, before deciding whether or not to assign the said functions to these prefectures.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the Japanese government’s decision to move some government functions outside the country’s capital? Why or why not?
·         What can be the disadvantages of spreading government functions throughout a country?

Discussion B

·         What is the importance of giving power to regions outside a country’s capital?
·         How can residents be affected by the sudden introduction of government offices in their area?

May 8, 2016