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Activities of the Minami Southern
The Japanese-style social safety net relies heavily on families and companies, and as its limitations become apparent, the importance of mutual support systems in local communities is increasing. In the face of various problems, including social isolation in urban areas, depopulation and aging populations in rural areas, and limits of the government sector in problem-solving, local communities must urgently increase the number of local welfare service actors naturally. From observations of the activities of the Minami Medical Health Co-op in Aichi Prefecture, this paper examines the process of promoting the participation of local welfare service actors, who are local residents helping to provide welfare services. With a focus on problem-solving for people facing difficulties in their local community, analysis is conducted to answer two questions: how to support highly committed people in becoming local welfare service actors and what factors are important in doing so. This paper reaches the conclusion that there are three key factors in increasing the number of proactive local welfare service actors: (1) residents’ participation in relevant meetings, (2) transfer of initiatives and assignment of decision-making positions, and (3) creation of opportunities to recognize local-level social issues and implementation of concrete actions aimed at problem-solving. These factors are considered to promote recognition that local welfare service actors proactively solve problems for neighborhood residents who face difficulties in their lives.
Keywords: local service actors, safety net, mutual support, medical co-op