The Innovative Regional Research Center: Aiming for Regional Parnerships

弘前大学地域未来創生センター長 李 永俊 LEE YOUNG-JUN Ph.D. / Director of IRRC

The Innovative Regional Research Center was established to examine and offer solutions to various regional problems. It continues and expands the functions of its predecessor, the Employment Policy Research Center. Aomori is expected to be one of the prefectures in Japan where the overall population and the birthrate will fall drastically while the number of elderly will increase. Among the side effects of these trends, a deterioration of regional industry and general economic conditions with resulting structural changes in the daily lives of prefectural residents daily lives are predicted. When a region is confronted with problems such as these, research needs to be undertaken in order to raise regional awareness and concern. The Employment Policy Research Center conducted research on measures that could be adopted to deal with issues related to industrial revitalization and job creation. Surveys were conducted and follow-up analyses performed to reach valid empirical conclusions that could lead to relevant policy proposals. However, the high level of unemployment is just one of the problems that the region is facing. The Innovative Regional Research Center will continue to look at unemployment issues, but will also look for coherent solutions to other emerging problems before they reach crisis proportions. These include the declining number of regional industries and the overall deterioration of regional economic conditions. It will therefore be indispensable to fully comprehend the historical and cultural background of this region.
The Innovative Regional Research Center is divided into three divisions: the Cultural Resources and Regional Culture Division, the Comprehensive Regional Planning Division and the Disaster and Calamity Reconstruction Research Division. These divisions will examine various regional problems through a comprehensive research program that takes into consideration the culture, society, and economy of Hirosaki City as well as the regions in and around Aomori Prefecture. These activities will be carried out in close collaboration with local governments, business enterprises, and NPOs. We will work to bring to light the cultural resources of the region and will not only undertake empirical studies of these resources, but will also look for effective and efficient ways to use them to reinvigorate and stimulate the region. Therefore, the Center will actively promote programs to help local people become more aware of local and regional issues and will take the lead in fostering public interest in regional issues.
The overriding goal of the Center is to contribute to the sense of pride and the vitality of the region and will strive to work hand in hand with the local community to realize this goal. We appreciate your understanding and support of our efforts to develop a strong, vigorous, and innovative region.