Ama-cho is surrounded by the Japan Sea, one part of the Oki Islands. The town faced a depopulation of around 2000. The Japanese government also drastically cut subsidies to the town. According to Asahi Shinbun, a large number of debts were left to Ama-cho, in which the rate of ageing people in the place reached 40%. It seemed that Ama-cho soon went bankrupt and fell to a deficit-ridden local government (Zaisei Saiken Dantai). However, the people in Ama-cho never gave up hope. At first, the mayor and the deputy mayor decided to cut their salaries by half. Then, the personnel in the town followed the mayors to cut their salaries. As a result, their salary levels became the lowest among the Japanese local governments.
Some fishermen invented a hi-tech processing system (CAS system). This system enabled fishers to deliver fish to Tokyo with freshness. The system earned to make a huge profit in 2015. Others found the potential of Iwagaki oysters. They bred the oysters called Haruka in a pool. This brand became famous and had popularity in the Tokyo area. Fishers could generate a large number of profits in 2017. This business created new employment on the island.
A construction company started to produce the original beef called Oki-Gyu. Child cattle, raised in Ama-cho, used to be sold to other famous beef places: Matsuzaka and Kobe. The company tried breeding the cattle inside of the island. The cattle could eat rich mineral-contained grass. Oki-Gyu successfully got well-reputed. The local government supported this bossiness.
Ama-cho carried out its educational reform plan. A high school in the town was on the verge of extinction. Dozen-Islands which consisted of Ama-cho, Nisinoshima-cho, and Chibu-mura, had the only high school called “Oki Dozen High School,” being enrolled only a few students as of 2005. The town set its new educational plan to revive the high school in 2008. The local government established a public clam school to help high school students learn subjects. This reform enabled some students to enter famous universities.
Written by Takashi Saito
Corrected by Dr Ayumi Mishiro(D.Litt University of St Andrews)