The merchant nation of Japan?s fall from grace in recent years has lead to a major realignment of state - society power relations with welcomed democratizing effects. This book is about the emerging civic face of twenty-first century Japan. It illustrates how new and emerging relationships between civil society groups and local government are becoming key elements of Japan?s changing structures of governance. It closely examines such issue areas as e-democracy, decentralization, foreign workers, NGOs and the role of women, which have converged to open the way for reinventing Japan. It demonstrates how the expansion of associational life in Japan is surely heading for a more autonomous civil society.