Our Philosophy

Hideki Kato
Hideki Kato
President of KOSO NIPPON

Around the world, democracy has begun to evolve.

A new form of democracy is coming to the fore
Nowadays, we often hear that democracy is in crisis. People talk about political matters and social conditions using terms like ‘anti-globalization,’ ‘anti-immigration,’ and ‘polarization.’ At the same time, terms such as ‘populist’ and ‘anti-elitist’ express the way some people are feeling about politics and politicians. What is behind all this is not the merits or faults of democracy itself, but people’s distrust toward the current state of democracy. In other words, what is needed now is a new form of democracy.
Declining voter turnout is a symptom of people’s mindset
In any country, as the society become more stable and affluent, people’s interest in politics tends to wane. The sharp decline in voter turnout in major developed countries over the past few decades illustrates this point well. The public’s attention becomes less and less focused on politics and government, and ultimately these areas become ‘someone else’s business.’
Bringing the realities of everyday life into politics and government
Today’s society is extremely complex, with a myriad of different systems, laws, and standards, and very few of us have a grasp of the big picture. Politicians and public officials do not take the time to look into what’s happening in every corner of the world—instead, they tend to make judgments based on data. As a result, people find it hard to believe that their elected representatives are really reflecting their interests and wishes. In this way, the reality of people’s everyday lives is missing from politics and government.
Getting residents involved at the local level
As we consider the future of democracy and how to govern our increasingly complex society, it is essential for residents to be involved in affairs at the local government level, which is closest to their day-to-day lives, making public matters ‘their own business.’ For this reason, we need a way to bring the reality of people’s lives into politics and government.
Residents Councils offer a solution
At KOSO NIPPON we have been carrying out Residents Councils, where residents discuss issues in their community from a personal perspective. At these councils, local people who are neither politicians nor civil servants think seriously about their community and engage in lively discussions. Moreover, after the councils are over, we are seeing residents step up to volunteer and take the well-being of their community into their own hands. The small size of a local community allows people to put a face to it and make local affairs their own business.
The way forward for democracy across the world
In this era of respect for diversity, the time has come for us to let go of our fixed ideas about democracy and allow it to diversify and evolve. Our Residents Councils, made up of randomly selected residents, are a form of ‘democratic lottery,’ an idea that is gaining popularity around the world. From here on, more and more nations will be looking to this practical method developed by KOSO NIPPON. I feel that this is indeed a new trend in democracy and an indication of the global need for strengthening democracy’s foundations from the ground up.