｡?n fiscal 1996, the majority (50.3%) of Japanese local authorities carried a debt burden excess of 15%, indicating growing rigidity in the structure of local budgets.
Table 15 Percentage of local tax in local government revenue (1996)
Topics 3 Regional Revitalization and Community Development
Triggered by the 'FURUSATO SOUSEI 100 million yen' Program, the movement for community development is growing, and the Ministry of Home Affairs has established programs entitled 'Furusato-zukuri', 'Furusato-yuushi' and 'Furusato-shichosonken', encompassing developments from community facilities such as district parks, roads and libraries to large-scale, special-purpose facilities such as huge dome convention centers and leisure parks. The ministry also provides support for festivals and programs for the education of community leaders.
Rapid progress in technology and multilateral economic growth have globalized human activities, the distribution of goods and the sharing of information. This being the case, international relations between local authorities and grass-roots activities are becoming as important as relations between national governments. This means that international exchange is becoming more personalized than ever before. These activities at the community level promote mutual understanding of foreign cultures, which makes us aware of our own identity and encourages the development of more attractive communities.
Dealing with the informationalized society is a new and pressing challenge for regional communities. Local authorities now apply information technology to the revitalization of the community and improvement of the local welfare system, as a means of enhancing the community.