As I have said before I am lucky in that my family often comes to visit us. In general they must arrive with a sense of comfort in the knowledge that here in the countryside of Japan nothing really changes. A few more houses may become vacant, but in general there is nothing "new" happening. However in the last couple of years there is one thing that has had both my parents wanting to snap photos - solar panels. They are popping up on every vacant lot, no matter how big or small. There are advertisements on T.V. all the time asking if you are making the most of your vacant land and whether you want to invest in pumping electricity back into the grid.
When they first started appearing I thought it was fantastic. After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima I thought it was great that they were using unproductive land to create an alternative source of electricity. The faster we can get rid of all nuclear power stations the better in my opinion. However lately the solar power movement has been getting slightly out of control. Originally it was all on a small scale, but now there are huge blocks of land that are being converted into solar panel jungles. As well as being very ugly, they are also reducing the amount of land that could be used for agriculture in the future. According to one website Japan currently imports a total of 60% of its food. No one seems very worried that in the future this could lead to huge problems and that they need to be using their own land to increase the production of food for their own consumption.
There are also areas nearby that are trying to promote the beauty of their area for tourism purposes, but are battling big companies wanting to build mega-solar farms in the middle of these areas. It is a hard issue - as I said I would love to see the end to nuclear power, but.... I'm not sure that these huge areas of solar panels are the answer. Hopefully there will be a good balance struck soon.