Round-up: Countryside Democracy in Japan and Germany: Trends in Political Participation (11.05)

23rd May 2023

More than 100 people followed the lively online panel discussion on "Countryside Democracy in Japan and Germany: Trends in Political Participation", which was organized by the Japanese-German Center Berlin together with the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) Tokyo and also realized as the third event in the JDZB series "The Future of Democracy". Moderated by Yōsuke Buchmeier (LMU Munich), panelists Petra Hahn (Netzwerk Kind, Meyenburg), Hannes Hasenpatt (Körber Foundation, Hamburg), Eri Ōtsu (O2 Farm, Minami-Aso), Dr. Sebastian Polak-Rottmann (DIJ Tokyo) and Prof. Dr. Shunsuke Takeda (Hōsei University, Tokyo) discussed the potential of rural areas, the need for civic education from an early age, and in particular, through which channels state and civic actors can engage in constructive dialogue. In her concluding remarks, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Vogt (LMU Munich) emphasized three particular points that can be perceived both for Japan and for Germany: (1) the importance of spaces - quite specifically as forums for encounter - that open up possibilities for political agency; (2) the central aspect that democracy is about active action, for which a framework is often necessary that, for example, foundations or the municipalities can create; and last but not least (3) the factor “pluralism of actors” that everyone should be able to contribute to. One positive conclusion was that, despite a strong feeling of crisis, it is worthwhile to look at innovative local initiatives and that the effects of commitment in the sense of a living democracy are often directly felt at the local level.

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