Libmonster ID: JP-1248
Author(s) of the publication: L. V. ZHILINA


Candidate of Historical Sciences

Omsk State University named after F. M. Dostoevsky

Keywords: Japan, young generation, prospects, value orientations

Today, the expectations of any society in relation to young people and young people in relation to society are equally high. Older generations around the world are concerned about the rather low level of political socialization, civic culture and patriotism of modern youth. What are the aspirations and values of young people who grew up in a peaceful and now prosperous Japan? The aim of the study is to understand how young Japanese people perceive their country.

In 2010, the American consulting company McKinsey & Company conducted a study involving 3,000 people from all over Japan-half of them were between the ages of 18 and 24, and the remaining 50% were between the ages of 25 and 35. The responses received in this survey are hardly inspiring. Two-thirds of young Japanese people said they were unsure about their country's future, while the rest said they highly doubted whether Japan could compete in the global economy.

The pessimism that was evident in these responses is easy to understand. After all, the youth unemployment rate in Japan is about 10% - more than twice as high as in 1990. This is an extremely high unemployment rate, even by historical standards!

Moreover, more and more young people are working in part-time or part-time jobs and worry that they are ill-prepared for the future. Only 10% of respondents believe that they are "ready to compete on the world stage". However, they deeply doubt that today's political leaders will help to fix this situation in any way - only 2% of respondents chose the political leader of Japan as a person they really admire.1 Studies have also shown that young people are quite pessimistic about the future of society itself and their potential in this society. It is easier to attribute such sentiments to immaturity of young people or their personal problems, but this will not shed light on the real causes of these problems - they need to be considered in a broader context.


It can be argued that the prospects for the future of Japanese youth were influenced by the country's dramatic economic boom in the late 1980s and its consequences. Economic prosperity is now one of the most important national goals in many countries. Japan is one of the first countries in the world to reach it. The economic structure that Japan has built can be viewed by other countries as an ideal model. But today it becomes clear that it has a number of shortcomings and its prospects are very overestimated.

After World War II, Japan's unity helped it become a rich country, and the search for ways to "catch up with the West" economically and solve national security issues (defense and constitutional order) in the Cold War era 2 became an important national goal3. But when the cold War ended, and Japan became a rich country, and the Japanese became one of the richest nations in the world, they felt that they had achieved the long-term goal (catching up with the West) that their country had set since the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The desire for economic development was no longer the sole goal and meaning of life for the Japanese (cca-

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benno for the younger generation). This led to a change in the value orientations of young people, who began to search for a new meaning in a post-industrial society.4

Of course, deflation in the Japanese economy in the early 1990s, accompanied by market competition in prices and rising product quality, created favorable opportunities for ensuring a high standard of living for the population. But changing social trends, economic decline, bureaucratic corruption, alienation of young people, and the search for new meaning in life have affected Japanese attitudes towards both the state and society: confidence in the state has declined, while individualistic sentiments have been on the rise.

All these defects were fully exposed when the bubble economy exploded in Japan in 19915. The impetus for this was the government's announcement of a possible increase in the discount rate of interest - almost immediately followed by the reaction of the stock and financial markets, the prices of securities and future contracts fell sharply. Since then, negative consequences, including limited employment prospects for young people, low wages and reduced consumption, have continued to affect the daily life of Japanese society.

The pessimism of the younger generation is growing, despite the fact that the standard of living of the population has become much higher during the economic boom of the 1980s, when the Japanese economy was experiencing an economic recovery thanks to the so-called "self-sustaining growth" model. Improving the standard of living of the population, stability of the political system, and the absence of social conflicts provided positive expectations in society; in addition, factors such as the increasing role of Japan in the global economy and international politics played a significant role. 6 Even after the bubble burst, the crisis had the least impact on the population, 7 because aggregate savings remained at a fairly high level. But still, the damage to the country as a whole was quite noticeable.

Since then, Japan has not been able to formulate a new goal (idea) for itself, which the nation should strive for - this state of affairs, of course, could not but affect the mood of young people. Young people now prefer a light attitude to life and pastime to hard, exhausting work. They choose the motto "live here and now" instead of preparing themselves for life in the future.

More and more Japanese people believe that they cannot rely on government leadership in economic matters, but must rely only on themselves. Instead of making the welfare of the State as a whole a priority, they feel that their own well-being should be put first. Despite the fact that young people still want the country to continue to thrive, many of them reject the way of life that was preserved at a time when the economy was at the forefront of the country (economy-first policy). They no longer want to sacrifice their lives by working 60 to 70 hours a week for the benefit of their people and companies.8

Another reason for pessimism: today's Japanese graduates are starting to work in a different environment than their parents, who came of age in the hot days of Japan Inc. 9 Today's young people know only two decades of stagnation and pessimism that resulted from the collapse of Japan's " bubble economy."

Well-known American sociologist Manuel Castels10 comments on this situation in Japan: "Confusion is increasing in society, in particular, in its young ranks, who have grown up in affluence and are losing significant values, while the traditional structures of family patriarchy and bureaucratic upbringing are losing their "coupling with culture", which is filled with information flows from the Internet. various sources".

A mixture of ritualistic Japanese traditions, American symbolism, and high-tech consumption (the hi-tech boom) fill a vacuum in social dynamics, cultural issues, and the dreams of individuals in a society that has previously met the goal of making Japan safe, prosperous, and respected in 50 years.

On the threshold of two millennia (almost 10 years after the collapse of the " soap opera economy

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after strenuous efforts, the Japanese were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel as some kind of abstraction, new, already technocratic problems are offered to them by a prosperous state that has experienced a state of emergency (caused by the explosion of the "economic bubble"). According to social studies, most Japanese people want to finally enjoy a quiet, good life, which for them means: reducing the incidence of "karoshi" ("death due to overwork"), allocating more time to rest, living in better housing, in better cities, and living without the exam hell (for young people)11.


As noted above, the downturn in the Japanese economy, which began in the 1990s, was triggered by the collapse of the "soap bubble" 12, when the parameters of the economy no longer correspond to the conditions of an open economy. However, structurally, it is also largely due to the aging of society and the decline in the birth rate.

Over the next 50 years, more than 40% of Japan's population is projected to be over 65 years of age. This situation requires an extremely large proportion of the working-age population in order to cover subsequent expenditures on the national health system and pensions from the State treasury.13

The decline in the birth rate of Japan (despite the already low birth rate in the country), coupled with an increase in life expectancy (extending the retirement period for older people), will have a negative impact on Japan's economic growth in the future, affect the social security infrastructure.

A shrinking population means a shrinking labor force, which brings with it many economic problems. It is estimated that 87% of regions across Japan will be negatively affected by both population ageing and migration, which in turn will lead to a decline in the economic and social viability of the regions outside of Japan's major cities.15

Ideally, to ensure a smooth transition to an aging society with a low birth rate, Japan should have started implementing comprehensive measures to increase the birth rate in the 1990s, creating a state, rather than a corporate system of guarantees, taking into account differentiated employment conditions...

Today, it can hardly be said that Japan has managed to adapt properly to the changes that took place in the 1990s. The most important measures to combat the low birth rate have not been taken, and the preparation of social guarantees for the working generation is lagging behind. And only representatives of the social strata with a certain level of affluence can decide to have a child.16

This state of affairs, alas, is not surprising. And here's why.

Analyzing the results of surveys conducted by NHK17(The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute18) in 1993 - 2008 on "Value orientations of Japanese people: an analysis of the main trends over the past 35 years", it can be seen that in almost all age groups, the number of both men and women who agreed with the statement that " marriage - this is self-evident", decreases, and those who answered that "there is no need for marriage", increases. And among the latter, there are more women than men, and most of them are younger age groups, and not the older generation.

For example, in 2008, approximately 90% of women over the age of 20 responded in this way. 70% of women under the age of 40 summed up that "there is no special need for children" 19.Many couples who are already married gave similar answers to this question. And the number of childfree20 has grown significantly since 2003, exceeding the number of those who believe that " children are naturally needed."

After analyzing the survey results, it becomes clear that more women than men, and more young Japanese people than older respondents, believe that marriage is "not necessary to have children at all." The proportion of women who answered that "there is no special need for children" increased in almost all age groups. And this is in a country with serious traditional foundations!

In this situation, it is not entirely clear how a sustainable social insurance system in Japan can still exist.-

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use it. The current system was created in the post-war period and is clearly structured to rely on young people to maintain its viability.

The fact that young people are underrepresented in government positions also makes it difficult to solve all these problems. Decision makers in Japan are traditionally older people, and the turnout of voters aged 65-69 is almost twice as high as that of those in their twenties. 21

Thus, Japan's previously advertised decent savings and surpluses-the result of massive wealth accumulation over the previous decades-will certainly be contained, turning into an "aging crisis in Japan"22. And this is due to the fact that the aging of the population in Japan is much faster than in other countries. Percentage of older people (60 years and older) In 2000, the share of the total population was 23.2%, and in 2012 it was already 32% (an increase of almost 138%), and since 2011, Japan has been experiencing a demographic crisis in general (-2%, 2013)23. A large number of elderly dependents (according to recent estimates, up to 2020, the number of elderly dependents will increase by 10%). However, the government's policy of increasing the number of employees (two working people will account for one pensioner) will sooner or later require a sharp increase in taxes (mainly consumption tax) and much larger contributions to the three national social insurance programs - public pension, health insurance and long-term insurance. This will put a serious burden on the younger generation of Japan 24.


How do the growing economic problems affect the degree of satisfaction with their lives of the young generation of the Land of the Rising Sun? And what does it matter to Japan that its youth is in such a decadent mood?

Of course, it doesn't matter, because today's young Japanese are tomorrow's main consumers in the country. Their habits, skills, and life orientations acquired today may affect their subsequent behavior in a "general consumption" society.

The consumer confidence index is a key indicator of future consumption in a country; a low level of confidence leads to low indicators of future consumer capacity and equally low discretionary spending. The research "Japanese Youth: Where is our Future?" 25 showed that young consumers - almost 30% of potential buyers under the age of 30-named price as the main argument when making a particular purchase. Younger consumers also reacted differently to the question of what to buy than the older generation: they focused less on buying, for example, cars and focused more on so-called technological things - gadgets. 26

Japanese society was even more puzzled by the results of a public opinion survey on "life satisfaction in Japan" conducted in 2014 by the Cabinet of Ministers ' secretariat. The survey showed that 79.1% of young people aged 20-29 are "satisfied" with their life. This is a record high since such surveys were launched in Japan in 1967, meaning that the level of satisfaction with the life of today's young people was significantly higher than their peers in the era of economic growth. This trend is even more pronounced among adolescents under the age of 19.

In a 2012 survey of youth public opinion conducted by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute, more than 90% of middle and high school students responded positively to the question " Do you feel happy?". This indicator was especially high among secondary school students: 94% answered that they were "happy", and 55% chose "very happy". With a pessimistic approach, such a "high level of happiness" can be seen as a sign of a lack of hope for a better future, forcing young people to be satisfied with what they already have. Of course, these indicators would not have been possible without a solid foundation in the form of a high standard of living of the population.27

More recently, Japanese youth have been described as "uchimuki" ("inward-looking" or "insular")28. Although the perception of Japan as a" closed island state " (shimaguni) has long been described in writings on Japan (Nihon-jinron) and has long been discussed by foreign critics, the author himself

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the term uchimuki is relatively "young". Central to this definition is the assumption that young Japanese people no longer want to work/study abroad. But not all analysts agree that the uchimuki phenomenon is negative. They believe that it is only natural that many young people feel less need to travel abroad (as opposed to the Chinese neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region).29. According to experts, young people are concerned that due to a serious downturn in the country's economy, it will be very difficult for them to find work at home after returning from abroad. 30

It would be wrong to say that young Japanese people do not appreciate things around them and those who are close to them, such as their friends. Most likely, when measuring life satisfaction and happiness, the focus shifted from "society and politics, ""social and more general things," to "friends" and "the place where you were born and raised" - to what directly surrounds young people in their living environment and in the world. This phenomenon may reflect a high level of satisfaction-as a consequence of the socio-economic situation in affluent and even affluent Japan.31

Is there any benefit in this situation for retailers and various companies that produce mass consumption goods? More likely yes than no. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the American company McKinsey & Company, representatives of the younger generation of Japan, unlike their older compatriots, are much more willing to go shopping and make purchases without paying much attention to the countries of origin of these goods. 32 This statement is true in relation to cars, and to fashion, and to all kinds of consumer electronics, and even to purchased food products.


Based on an analysis of youth surveys conducted in Japan in the early 2000s, Prof. Ono 33 of Japan's Aichi University concluded that "the older generation is too preoccupied with their own problems to care about the place and role of young people in society, which they seek to use primarily for their own benefits." 34 This attitude, which is called "adult self-ism", has been given a new meaning. It is widely distributed in Japan. Faced with this attitude, young people became suspicious of both the older generation and the society created by this generation. For example, on June 17, 2015, the Japanese Parliament passed a bill to lower the age limit from 20 to 18, which increased the number of potential voters by 2.4 million (to 104 million of the country's steadily aging electorate). Although such an expansion of the right to vote "should be considered as an opportunity to increase the interest of young people" in politics, young people still remain indifferent to what is happening in the political arena in the country35, and therefore to their future in general. All this, in turn, leads the younger generation to become indifferent to their society, forcing them to live according to the principle - "you know less, you sleep better"36.

There is another contradictory trend that can be clearly traced among Japanese youth. This is the tendency of Cocooning (English) - staying in a kind of" cocoon", which can be defined as the desire to hide, hide from the world (even at the cost of occupying a lower level in society), choosing for yourself, first of all, convenience. And at the same time, they absolutely do not want to risk anything or be interested in world problems, or even the world itself, except for "sitting online "and" going out " only through social networks.

Thus, the study "Japanese Youth: Where is our future?" 37 suggests an interesting conclusion: the majority of respondents spend less than 30 minutes a week (!) reading, listening or watching news about events outside Japan. One out of every five members of the younger generation of Japanese people admits that they have absolutely no time for all this.38

Lack of other types of involvement in public life, other than economic-

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It gradually reduces the interest of young people in the world more and more. At the same time, many young people have begun to make new attempts to find meaning in life through the adoption of global social values. A growing number of Japanese people are becoming more open-minded due to exposure to the media, foreign travel, or study abroad.39 In recent years, tourism has become a significant need for the Japanese. However, for comparison, in 2014, the growth of Japanese population spending on tourist trips was only 2% (while in the USA-7%, in Germany and Canada-6%, in the UK-4%, in Australia-3%) 40.


In Japan, there are four groups of factors that influence the value image of the future among young people and their attitude to this future.

The first one, called "lack of effort to shape one's future", is consistent with one of the worldviews of the Japanese adult generation: "Young people are secondary (on the periphery of public life)": the older generation takes for granted the exclusion of young people from decision-making processes and / or discussion of important issues in the family, school and other communities. Being left out of those issues that, by their very nature, require long-term thinking, young people miss the chance to expand the scope of their thinking. This prospect is very unfavorable for the entire Japanese society - in the sense that the younger generation may be squeezed into its small, limited world, when the main interests of young people are outlined in the circle of their immediate needs. When the idea of a" bright future " becomes sky-high and far removed from everyday life, young Japanese people develop a worldview: "I would like to benefit from the welfare of society as much as I can!"

Negative images of the future society and their place in it in the minds of Japanese youth are most likely a reflection of fear in relation to the society that raised them. For example, young voters are critical of the majority of aging politicians, but they are not yet ready to take responsibility for the country's development. And this is currently the main problem of Japanese society.

Young people were isolated from making serious decisions by too rigid materialism and, from the point of view of life prospects, the leitmotif - not to go beyond personal convenience. This explains the weak interest of young people in national affairs -a serious challenge facing the gradually aging Japanese society. While many say there aren't many policy strategists who deserve to be elected, the younger generation isn't ready to come up with any alternative solutions. Many of its representatives do not have enough knowledge to be involved in public affairs.

But the question of cultivating their political consciousness should be solved while they are still in educational institutions - in high school or university.41

In Japan, there was a lot of discussion about how to fix their so "problematic" youth. Participants in such debates, however, failed to recognize the fact that their young people are growing up strongly influenced not only by what adults themselves consciously do, but also by what they do unconsciously (for example, removing young people from government management). When a person looks for the causes of certain circumstances not in others, but in himself, at this time the further maturation of the individual takes place, and the situation itself (the attitude of young people to public life in the country) can easily change 42. At the same time, it is very important for the older generation to look at themselves and recognize that they are now facing the negative consequences of their egocentric worldview, which they previously projected on young people. And when this finally happens, the nature of the images of the future for young people, as well as the direction that Japan will take in the future, will begin to change.43

And, of course, you should always remember that youth is a disadvantage that passes very quickly...


Sahberg В., Kosugi Y. 1 Youth to Japan: Where is our future? -

2 Japan is considered to owe much of its development as a manufacturing country to the Cold War. Located in the eastern camp, China did not have the capacity to fully enter world markets. Korea and Southeast Asian countries were ruled by pro-American dictatorships, with unstable politics and low levels of education. Thus, at that time, Japan had no competitors for the role of a "global manufacturing plant".

Curtis G.L. 3 The logic of Japanese politics: Leaders, institutions, and the limits of change. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Curtis G.L. 4 Japan at the crossroads, Asia Pacific issues analysis from the East-West Center, 41 (September), 1999.

5 Japanese Financial Bubble (baburu keiki-the pu economy-

page 70

zyrya) in Japan from 1986 to 1991 was characterized by multiple price increases in the real estate and stock markets. The bubble continued to deflate for more than 10 years. The stock market bottomed in 2003, but subsequently fell to a new low in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis. The "deflation" of the bubble resulted in a prolonged period of economic stagnation, called the lost decade. See: Japan's Bubble Economy -

Sahakian A. 6 "The Soap Bubble", "The Lost Decade" and the new period of economic growth - heskogo-rosta (Saakyan A. "Milnii puzir", "poteryannoye desyatilyetiye" i novii period ekonomicheskogo rosta - hes-kogo-rosta) (in Russian)

7 The highest HDI (Human Development Index) from 1996 to 2006, on the basis of which the analysis was made, was observed in Japan - 0.936. This is quite a high indicator, so Japan can also rightfully be called a country with a high level of human development. Over the past 11 years, Japan has seen an increase in the PPP Index, with the exception of slight fluctuations in 1998, 2001 and 2006. Kuznetsova N. V. Sravnitelnyi analiz urovnya zhizni naseleniya Rossii i [Comparative analysis of the standard of living of the population of Russia and Japan], Izvestiya Vostochnogo Instituta, 2007 (14), p. 48. (Kuznetsova N. V. Sravnitelnyi analiz urovnya zhizni naseleniya Rossii i Yaponii / / lzvestiya Vostochnogo Institute, 2007(14)) (in Russian)

Ono Y. 8 Japan's decline makes one thing rise: Individualism // The Asian Wall Street Journal, 2001, January 3, p. 1.

9 "Japan Inc." - this term was used in the 1980s during the Japanese economic boom to refer to the corporate world of Japan, when Western businessmen saw how closely the Japanese government cooperates with the national business sector in the country. At this time in the world, Japan was associated with such concepts as an economic miracle, kaizen, etc. During this period, the Japanese economy flourished, reaching the 2nd place in the world, which contributed to the popularization of business literature on the topics "business in Japanese" and"management in Japanese". A high degree of collusion between corporate and political circles in Japan has led to corruption throughout the system and contributed to the collapse of the overvalued Nikkei index.

Castelh M. 10 End of millennium. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1998, p. 235.

Castelk M. 11 Op. cit.

12 См., например: Ohno K. Nihon Keizai, Micro karano Saisei о (Renewal of Japan's Economy Begins from Microeconomic Cleanup), Nihon Keizai Shimbun, December 31, 2002.

Kawase A., Ogura S. 13 Macroeconomic Impact and Public Finance Perspectives on the Ageing Society. In: Coulmas F., Conrad H., Schad-Seifert A., and Vogt G., Eds. The Demographic Challenge A Handbook about Japan, eds. Leiden: Brill, 2008, p. 841.

14 The total birth rate (the average number of births per woman in her entire life) is teetering around 1.4, and its fall is unlikely to be avoided - the generation of children of those born at the post-war peak of fertility is already passing the reproductive age.

Elis V. 15 The Impact of the Ageing Society on Regional Economies. In: Coulmas F., Conrad H., Schad-Seifert A., and Vogt G., Eds. The Demographic Challenge A Handbook about Japan, eds. Leiden: Brill, 2008, p. 865.

Fumichi N. 16 When Will the "Postwar" End? Japanese Youth in Search of a Future -

17 The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute (NIIK) was founded in 1946 as the first institute for comprehensive research based on a broadcasting station.

18 Ibid.

Kono K., Takashi K., Hara M. 19 The Survey of Japanese Value Orientations: Analysis of Trends over Thirty-Fiwe Years - 04.pdf

Childfree 20 - childless (English). This combination of the words child and free appeared around 1979 to describe childlessness without the tinge of regret that is present in the word childless. The term was coined in the United States.

Fumichi N. 21 The fragile happiness of Japan's 'insular' youth.17th September, 2014 -

Ezrati M. 22 Japan's Ageing Economics // Foreign Affairs. 76 (3), 1997, p. 97 - 98.

23 See for example: Ponomareva N. N. Protsess demograficheskogo starstviya: sushchnost', osobennosti i posledstviya v stranakh mira [The process of demographic aging: essence, features and consequences in the countries of the world]. 2013, N 6(16) (Ponomaryova N.N. 2013. Protsess demograficheskogo stareniya: sushchnost, osobennosti i posledstviya v stranah mira // Vestnik NPGU, N 6 (16)) (in Russian): World Economic Outlook, April 2015: Uneven Growth: Short- and Long-Term Factors. International Monetary Fund. Research Department -

Kawase A., Ogura S. 24 Op. cit., p. 841 - 860.

Salsberg B., Kosugi Y. 25 Youth to Japan: Where is our future?

26 Ibidem.

Fumichi N. 27 When Will the "Postwar" End? Japanese Youth in Search of a Future -

Burgess C. 28 Ambivalent Japan turns on its 'insular' youth - ular-youth/#.U8XX4_mSxpk

Burgess C. 29 Foreigners Reluctant to Come, Japanese Reluctant to Leave: The Uchimuki Discourse as a Cover for Japan's Failure to Secure and Cultivate "Global Human Resources"

30 Kobe Shimbun 2011. 'Semen Kaigai Kyolryokutai, О I boshasul ga Dai haba Gen Shinsai nado no Eikyolka (.Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, Big Fall in Number of Applicants, Impact of Triple Disasters?)'. (Oct. 29) -

Fumichi N. 31 The fragile happiness of Japan's 'insular' youth. 17th September, 2014 -

Salsberg B., Kosugi Y. 32 Youth to Japan: Where is our future? ...

33 Prof. Ono Ryota - Department of Business Administration Aichi University, Japan.

Ono R. 34 Societal Factors Impacting on Images of the Future of Youth in Japan. Journal of Futures Studies, May 2005, 9 (4), p. 70.

Panda R. 35 Japan: Empowering The Youth - Analysis, July 7, 2015 -

Mau James A. 36 Social Change and Images of the Future. Cambridge: Schenkman, 1967, p. 115.

Salsberg B., Kosugi Y. 37 Op. cit.

38 См. например: Rosenau J.N. Turbulence in world politics: A theory of change and continuity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990; Rosenau J.N., Fagen W.M. A new dynamism in world politics: Increasing skillful individuals? International Studies Quarterly, 41(4), 1997, p. 655 - 686; Rosenau N.J. Along the domestic-foreign frontier: Exploring governance in a turbulent world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Zhilina L. V. 39 Japanese universities: facing globalization / / Asia and Africa Today. 2015. N 3. pp. 19-24. (Zhilina L. V. 2015. Yaponskiye universitety: litsom k globalizatsii // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 3) (in Russian)

40 See: Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 941-r of 31.05.2014 of Moscow "On Approval of the Tourism Development Strategy in the Russian Federation for the Period up to 2020" -

Panda R. 41 Op. cit.

Yamaguchi Y., Hirao S. 42 Kizukasete Ugokasu (Making People Know to Move). Tokyo: PHP, 2003.

Ono R. 43 Op. cit., p. 71.


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