- Youth and labor market
- Social inequality
- Social Capital
- Okinawa Studies
Home-Orientation – The function of Social Capital during the transition to work among university students in Okinawa
In recent years the socioeconomic decline and the fastening demographic change in Japan’s rural areas has gained attention among foreign as well as Japanese researchers.
Especially the migration of young young people from rural Japan to urban areas like Tokyo is considered a main factor for the acceleration of the demographic change and the economic downfall of Japan’s countryside. Classical economics consider rural-urban migration as being measures balancing the labor supply (rural areas) with the labor demand (urban areas), but compared to the massive rural-urban migration in postwar Japan this classic migration model lost its functionality. By taking a look at the socioeconomic and demographic situation of the prefecture of Okinawa, one easily understands that though economically at the bottom of all regions in Japan, Okinawa has a positive migration balance in combination with a high birth rate and can thus not be considered a ‘shrinking region’. This would mean that, at least concerning the case of Okinawa, there are reasons beyond economic factors, which keep young people in their home region. In my opinion Social Capital can explain why young people choose to stay in their rural home region, even though there are less economic benefits comparing to urban areas. Describing and explaining Social Capital could deepen the understanding for the reason, what social mechanism makes young adults stay and therefore widen the perspective on mobility of young people in Japan as a whole.