The aim of this work is a contextual exploration of the two Japanese regional centers Sapporo and Fukuoka. As medium-sized cities have to date largely gone unnoticed in the metropolitan research – though rankings on world cities now include cities that can not necessarily be understood as "global cities" in the conventional sense – it seems essential to focus on growing cities that already exceed the meaning of their national borders. Since both regional centers already play a significant role – at least in the Japanese context – and political initiatives seek to internationalize these cities, it seems crucial to make an initial contribution to this problem and to determine the potential and the "dangers" – in the sense of an increased social polarization – of middle-sized cities in Japan in the context of increased globalization and internationalization processes. In this respect, this work addresses the question whether Sapporo and Fukuoka are affected by any globalization processes – economic, social as well as political – or whether they will align themselves with the other mainly shrinking cities and regions of Japan in the future.
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