Toronto-Tokyo July Workshop


July Ideathon


Toronto time:     TBD

Japan time:        TBD




Event Description

In the next two decades, many post-industrial countries will face aging societies and declining populations, a trend that affects rural areas more severely than urban ones. Despite the differences in government administration, socio-cultural background and economic structure, rural Japan and the maritime provinces of Canada are facing population decline. Here, we have come across an “unexpected common ground” — policy and demographic problems of a strikingly similar nature.


The Canada-Japan Research Group (CJRG) is a student-­led initiative dedicated to researching and crafting policy solutions against depopulation in rural areas. CJRG is fundamentally different from other think tanks as we grant undergraduate students the opportunity to design potential policy solutions based on theoretical research in combination with real­-life data. A comparative study of both countries will lay the foundation for greater cooperation in tackling many emerging global issues.


We propose to host an videoconference workshop in July 2017,  with our undergraduate affiliates at the University of Tokyo,  Aichi Prefectural University, and Hokkaido University of Education in Hakodate. Participants from all locations will simultaneously learn and address the social, economic, and cultural aspects of rural depopulation. During the one-hour lectures, comprehensive case studies will be provided along with relevant information tailored to the mandate of the committee for all students. Attendees will then generate potential policy solutions via video conferencing in joint-committee discussions. The proposed policies will be subjected to the scrutiny of a debate between participants from Japan and Canada. Conference attendees from both countries will vote to determine which policy solutions are most plausible in addressing the given issues. The voting results and the findings of the debates will be used in the composition of a ‘white paper’. This document will contain recommendations in addressing the issue of rural population decline. It is our contention that these conferences, under the guidance of the Munk School, will spark innovative forms of cultural exchange between young people in Japan and Canada.  


When aiming to promote effective, evidence based policies, grassroots initiatives like the Japan – Canada conference not only open up spaces for meaningful debate and discussion but also strengthen ties between countries and people
— Héctor Goldar, MA in Human Geography