Creating a System for Citizen Participation: How the Nonprofit Sector Can Provide Citizens a Voice in Tokyo's Urban Development System

By Vikstrom, Nicolas J. | Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, February 2006 | Go to article overview

Creating a System for Citizen Participation: How the Nonprofit Sector Can Provide Citizens a Voice in Tokyo's Urban Development System


Vikstrom, Nicolas J., Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal


Abstract: Recent changes in Japan's civil society together with the current political and economic environment have created the first opportunity to develop a viable nonprofit sector that represents citizen interests and allows for public participation in Tokyo's urban development scheme. Tokyo's urban environment has failed to meet the social and cultural needs of its citizens due to unprecedented economic and industrial growth from the beginning of the Meiji era until the 1990s. Through this extended period of growth, the goal for urban development was solely to increase Tokyo's economic strength, while social needs were not addressed. While the City Planning Law of 1968 ("CPL") sought to require citizen participation in urban planning, the law was largely ineffective due to its narrow scope and weak legal remedies. During much of the twentieth century, Tokyo's governance was controlled by an iron triangle comprised of bureaucracy, government, and big business, which drove Tokyo's economic growth. This form of governance did not allow citizens to participate in the political process. The iron triangle lost its strength only after the collapse of the economic bubble in the 1990s. With urban development failing to meet the needs of the citizens and the iron triangle having lost its strength, citizens groups began to assert more influence over the city's governance. Successes for the citizens groups and growing media attention prompted the promulgation of the Nonprofit Organizations Law of 1998 ("NPO Law"). The NPO Law created a framework for a nonprofit sector and began to strengthen its legitimacy. Unlike past attempts to introduce a viable nonprofit sector, the NPO Law came at a time when the political and economic environments of the city allowed for outside influence in the political process. While the foundation has now been laid for a viable nonprofit sector, the sector must gain legitimacy and independence before it is a truly viable means to public participation. With increased legitimacy and independence, Japan's nonprofit sector will serve to improve the urban development scheme by balancing the interests of citizens and corporations and meet long-standing social goals.

I. INTRODUCTION

Residents of Kunitachi, a suburb west of Tokyo, are proud of the roadside trees and stylish street lights along Daigaku Don (University Avenue).1 The town is known as a college town and has attracted famous writers, painters, and sculptors who are fond of the town's sakura (cherry blossom) lined streets.2 These are the avenues that often appear in television love stories.3 These same streets are also threatened by Tokyo's prevailing goal of economic growth and development, and citizens have little power to influence future urban development.

The consequences of Tokyo's economic focus have recently reached Japan's courts in a case involving the Kunitachi section of western Tokyo.4 The case involves a condominium complex in Kunitachi's scenic district that for decades had a voluntary height restriction of twenty meters.5 A developer, Meiwa Estate Co. ("Meiwa"), purchased the land and sought to build a forty-three-meter-tall building on the scenic avenue.6 Concerned citizens brought suit against Meiwa to prevent construction of the condominium complex, arguing that it destroyed scenery along University Avenue.7 Specifically, the residents claimed that the apartment complex "seriously violated their rights to scenery and sunlight, and created a strong feeling of oppression among the residents."8 In a landmark decision, a three judge panel of the Tokyo District Court found in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering Meiwa to remove the top twenty-three meters of the forty-three-meter building.9 Judge Akira Miyaoka stated, "The condominium violates the local residents' rights to scenery."10 Meiwa argued that they acted within the legal restrictions for the site, which did not include a mandatory height restriction.11 On appeal, the Tokyo High Court overruled the lower court, finding that Meiwa was within the municipal code in force at the time of construction. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Creating a System for Citizen Participation: How the Nonprofit Sector Can Provide Citizens a Voice in Tokyo's Urban Development System
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.