Like much of Japan, Toyama faces a declining, aging population. This demographic shift leads to declining tax revenues, which means that a once strong transportation infrastructure is becoming outdated. In turn, without access to convenient and reliable transportation, elderly residents face isolation and health problems associated with limited mobility. Officials have developed a long-term strategy aimed at revitalizing public transportation, encouraging residents and businesses to relocate along the new transportation lines, and renewing the city center to make it more pedestrian friendly.

The city also faces challenges due to its geographic location. Sitting in the alluvial plain between the Northern Japan Alps and the Sea of Japan, Toyama has a long history of flooding, from major rivers and tributaries that cut through the city. As climate change continues to drive heavy rainfall in the region, Toyama has begun to reinforce embankments, build sabo dams to lower silt levels, and construct underground rainwater storage facilities that can respond to severe weather events.

Shocks and Stresses

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Coastal Flooding
  • Declining or Aging Population
  • Earthquake
  • Landslide
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Rising Sea Level and Coastal Erosion

Meet The Chief Resilience Officer

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Dr. Joseph Runzo-Inada was the first American to serve as a senior policy adviser to a major Japanese city. He is an expert on global ethical issues, global human rights, cultural pluralism, and organizational leadership.  For the City of Toyama, he conceived of the “Amazing Toyama” civic pride campaign and as CRO holds a Vice Mayor level appointment as head of the newly created Office of Strategic Planning and Resilience and frequently represents the city at international summits.

Educated at the University of California, Irvine, University of Michigan, and Harvard University, he is the author of 10 books and is a documentary filmmaker, is the recipient of seven awards from the United States National Endowment for the Humanities, and was elected a Life Member of Cambridge University’s Clare Hall College. 

Snapshot of Toyama

  • 421,950

    population as of 2010

Around the World

Explore cities facing similar resilience challenges to Toyama.

  • Aging Infrastructure
  • Coastal Flooding
  • Declining or Aging Population
  • Earthquake
  • Landslide
  • Rainfall Flooding
  • Rising Sea Level and Coastal Erosion
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