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.
Pacific Affairs is a peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focusing on important current political, economic and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Each issue contains approximately five new articles and 40-50 book reviews. Published continuously as a quarterly since 1928 under the same name, it is the oldest English-language journal with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. It enjoys an international reputation based on the high quality of articles, and its extensive book reviews section.