Changes in the Japanese Urban System Since the 1950s: Urbanization, Demography, and the Management Function

  • Kazutoshi Abe
  • Tomoko Kubo
  • Nobuhiko Komaki
Part of the Advances in Geographical and Environmental Sciences book series (AGES)


Japan is turning into an aging and low fertility from the age of urbanization and population increase at a rate that is without precedent. Under such circumstances, Japanese cities have experienced drastic changes. This chapter examined how Japanese cities have changed since the 1950s onward by analyzing (1) national urban planning policies and their effects on the demographic character of the country, (2) changes in Japanese metropolitan areas, and (3) the distribution of large, corporate offices.

National urban planning policies stimulated the growth of major metropolitan areas. At first they caused migration from nonmetropolitan areas to metropolitan areas, resulting in horizontal expansion during the suburbanization period between the 1960s and early 1990s. From the late 1990s, deregulation of urban planning and the mortgage market stimulated the centralization of the population and economy in metropolitan centers. This stimulated vertical urbanization in metropolitan centers such as Tokyo and Osaka. Although national policies aimed to decentralize power, the economy, and the population, the situation points toward increased centralization and nascent, or already existing, stagnation in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas.


Urban policies Urbanization Demography Management function Japanese cities 



We would firstly express our deep gratitude to Prof. Masateru Hino for his great advice on Japanese urban planning history. Our gratitude also goes to Dr. Jun Tsutsumi for his comments on the draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazutoshi Abe
    • 1
  • Tomoko Kubo
    • 2
  • Nobuhiko Komaki
    • 3
  1. 1.Aichi University of EducationKariyaJapan
  2. 2.University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Aichi UniversityToyohashiJapan

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