Midori Aoyagi (19th: 2018 – 2019)
As 19th President of the Association of Rural Planning, I will be leading this association for the next two years. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our advisory council in choosing me to be President. As a member of the association from before 1990, my early research interest was forest conservation policymaking in rural and urban areas, especially in the Kanto region. I used survey research methodology to investigate public support for urban forest conservation by local government. This has remained one of my primary research tools for analyzing public support for a variety of environmental issues.
Serving as a board member of the association since 1998, I have been on the committee of general affairs, editorials, and planning. This has been a valuable experience and I have learned a lot about how we should manage an academic association. At the same time, I usually work in a variety of different environmental fields and bring a somewhat broader perspective to the organization which I believe can be of benefit.
Our association has three priority goals over the next two years. The first one is our response to internationalization; the second is the challenge of new issues; and the third is the promotion of our expertise.
We are already living and working in an international world. Many students come from abroad and large numbers of tourists visit to enjoy Japanese rural landscapes and attractions such as national parks, skiing, & hot springs. More importantly, many people from overseas are working in rural areas as well as urban areas. Our association needs a positive response to this by, for example, encouraging non-Japanese speaking members to present their work at annual meetings in English, and to identify opportunities to address the changes in rural societies through internationalization, as well as our studies of traditional rural communities.
New issues arise every day and every year, and we must continue and extend the capacity of the members of our association to rise to these challenges. We have a good track record in our quick responses to significant events such as the earthquake of great Eastern Japan in March 2011, and recent Kumamoto earthquake, when our association held symposia within a month in order to consider the consequences and implications.
The members of our association are professionals and we seek to continually improve our expertise. This is a particular challenge because we are unusual as an association in our coverage of several different domains of professional knowledge. We need to demonstrate more effectively the relevance of our unique set of competences for society in order to ensure greater credibility and influence.
2nd May, 2018