Residents’ Dialogue

In a Residents’ Dialogue, we discuss issues that are close to the lives of local residents, such as childcare, nursing care, disaster prevention, and comprehensive town plan, as well as the future of their community. KOSO NIPPON started this initiative in 2014, with the aim of encouraging residents to think of these issues as ‘their own business’ and share their opinions, rather than leaving the issues in the hands of politicians and government.Residents engage in open dialogue, without drawing up any plans or proposals. Their lived experiences serve as a point of entry to promote discussion and raise people’s awareness. Many participants have never been part of government initiaves or community development in the past, and women and young people make up a large percentage of the councils.

What matters is what we can do on our own

Instead of making demands on the government and criticizing it, it’s important to first think about what we can do on our own. It’s not a question of what we should do, but of how we want to live our lives and what kind of city or town we want to live in. Discussing these questions can lead to changes in residents’ behaviors. For the participants, the Residents’ Dialogue serves as an opportunity to learn more about their community and to think about how they want to live from here on.

A new movement is born

When people take part in a Residents’ Dialogue, they start thinking of local community issues as ‘their own business.’ Even after the councils have ended, participants often continue to get together to discuss and take action on community issues. At the same time, the local officials adopt ideas and reforms that came out of the discussions and use them to revise government projects and implement new ones.