The C-J Project is a new way for international research collaboration. A five-year agreement between the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) and the Organization for Urban Rural Interchange Revitalization in Japan (OUR) (formerly the Institute for Rural Revitalization in the 21st Century) convenes researchers from many diverse institutions in both countries. This agreement is designed to enhance each country’s capability for understanding and meeting the rural challenges from commodity markets, resource technology, demographics and global economic restructuring. Globalization is redefining the scope for national policy in both countries not to mention the room for maneuver with local measures for rural development.
The Japanese side (J-side) consists of 10 researchers from various universities and government sponsored research institutes. This team is convened by the OUR. The Canadian side (C-side) consists of 5 researchers who, with another 20 researchers from several universities, the private sector and government institutions, work within CRRF’s New Rural Economy (NRE) Research Program.
Three exploratory comparative studies were carried out in 2000 and presented at the CRRF national conference at Alfred, Ontario. The research addressed the subjects of volunteer associations, rural governance, and the sensitivity of rural small and medium sized enterprises to globalization. The J-side confirmed the selection of two sites, Iitate-mura and Awano-machi as comparative with lagging and leading rural sites respectively in the NRE rural observatory. A total of six Japanese researchers visited Canada and three Canadians did work in Japan.
The 2001 workplan began with the third annual Tokyo Workshop in January. Fourth and fifth workshops were held in January of 2002 and 2003. Both the C-side and the J-side sent researchers to each other’s sites over the summer of 2001 and 2002. Nine projects are scheduled or under way. Several NRE projects have added the two J-sites to their sample sites from the NRE rural observatory. A book containing the results of the collaborative research is to be published in 2004.
The planned exchange of rural leaders in study tours began in October 2002. Six leaders from the two J-sites attended the CRRF Rural University at Miramichi and went on to tour rural Prince Edward Island. The agenda for discussion and visits was developed jointly. A group of eight Canadian rural leaders will visit Japan on a study tour planned for November 2003.
For further information related to this project contact Bill Reimer.