Ruining and Restoring Rivers: The State and Civil Society in Japan

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Rivers have become an important focus of environmental activity in Japan today. In particular, they are a rallying point for a large but disparate number of civil society groups. Faced with a continuing reliance on construction in concrete from many operating within the state and from the construction industry, various key groups have been fighting to win acceptance for a more eco-friendly approach to river re-landscaping. In this paper, I use these groups as a prism for a discussion about the nature of civil society in Japan and in particular its relationship to the state. I take issue with conventional interpretations that see civil society as being locked into a close (but sometimes antagonistic relationship) with the state.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2005

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