Jean Monnet Module (Agreement No. 2018・3245 / 010 – 001)

[ Editor: Institute for Industrial Research  24th August 2022 ]

Subject: Declining rural areas in the EU and in Japan:Embracing depopulation & population ageing in the 21st century

This Jean Monnet Module focuses on the challenges, but also the chances shrinking regions and population ageing pose. It includes diverse issues, such as internal migration and labour mobility, brain drain/circulation, entrepreneurship, innovation, the impacts of the sharing economy on the countryside, as well as the provision of welfare and medical services in remote areas.
It will analyse how regions that have reached high growth decades ago can stay competitive and innovative (especially in comparison to the newly emerging regional hubs in Asia), and what EU and Japanese regions can learn from each other in regard to making their locality more attractive to newcomers.

Over 3 years, this JMM will compare and contrast different measures on managing depopulation in rural regions of the EU and Japan. It analyses diverse activities by citizens, businesses, NGOs and government institutions, investigating their effectiveness, and highlighting their potential for successful application by other rural regions.

Our teaching, research and outreach activities are all integrated, following the research question on how rural depopulation and population ageing can be managed most efficiently. It targets the widest possible audience of all ages and professional backgrounds in order to reach widespread dissemination of results. A main aim is to bring together European and non-European young researchers, think tanks, NGOs and government institutions working on the topic of reviving local communities, generating new understanding.

If you are willing to contribute and to collaborate with us, please email Dr. Anna Schrade.

We have the following activities planned for the duration of 3 years (09/2019-08/2022):


We will offer the courses on the topic. Besides the new three courses below, KGU students will conduct fieldwork in EU member states.  
*The planned fieldwork courses were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A new COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning)course has been set up instead (No. 4 of New Teaching Courses).

New Teaching Courses
 1.Declining Regions in the EU
 2.Labour Mobility and Population Imbalance in the EU
 3.Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Rural Areas in the EU and Japan
 4.  The European Union: History, Politics & Economy (COIL course with LMU München)

TEACHING Jean Monnet Module (Agreement No. 2018・3245 / 010 – 001)


During the 3-year period we intend to publish a journal edition, a book, and several articles and memos on the topic. To attract the attention of the many government and non-government bodies working on regional economics, we also intend to publish bi-monthly newsletters with the latest research results, case studies, best practice examples and students’ fieldwork, among others.

DELIVERABLES Jean Monnet Module (Agreement No. 2018・3245 / 010 – 001)  



We will conduct the following three pieces of research, all focusing on publications.

1. Labour Mobilty and its impact on rural depopulation in Estonia and Finland. Recent patterns of labour mobility in the Baltic states (incl. returning migrant workers) and its impact on rural revitalisation
2. Reviving Shrinking Cities & Transformation of Polycentric Metropolitan Regions
3. Population ageing and efforts to guarantee universal social welfare and medical provision in (Eastern) Germany & Italy


We will organize the following events not only for students and researchers but also for the general public, NGOs and government institutions.

“Adapting to, and embracing, demographic change in the EU and Japan. Best-practice examples of regions successfully managing and utilising demographic change”
“Innovation & entrepreneurship outside metropolitan areas in the EU and Japan”
“Longevity as an opportunity: embracing an older labour force in the EU and Japan”

EVENTS Jean Monnet Module (Agreement No. 2018・3245 / 010 – 001) 


Anna Schrade
Associate Professor, Institute for Industrial Research, KGU

Institute for Industrial Research(IIR), Kwansei Gakuin University
1-155 Uegahara-1ban-cho Nishinomiya Hyogo, 662-8501, JAPAN
TEL: +81 798-54-6127
FAX: +81 798-54-6029