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Nearly 40 years ago, young mayor of Oita (one of the least developed prefectures in Japan in that time) - Mr. Morihiko Hiromatsu, introduced entirely new idea of regional development policy. This concept was named One Village One Product (OVOP). Thereupon, Oita was poor agricultural region that produced limited and not well known products mainly for localized use. Oita was highly dependent on financial support given by Government. Young people were not attracted to stay in the region. Hence, they rapidly started to move to more developed parts of Japan that offered better opportunities. The main vision of Mr. Hiromatsu was to vitalize Oita prefecture economy by reenergizing actual community, promoting its own regional resources, local culture and technical knowledge. He shifted focus of local producers from agricultural production with low margins to value-added products with high quality and diversification. Mr. Hiromatsu strongly promoted continuous improvement and human resource development as main principles of new development paradigm.
30 year later, after Mr. Hiromatsu left his long lasting call as a mayor, Oita became 9th most developed prefecture in Japan (Japan has 47 prefectures). GDP per capita was 25-50% higher than neighboring prefectures on the Kyushu Island, which still remained the least developed parts of Japan. After this great success of Oita prefecture, OVOP movement spread all over the world and became one of the most famous intrinsic methods for rural development.
This practitioner study analyzes principles which Mr. Hiromatsu introduced in Oita prefecture; local yet global, self-reliance and creativity, human resources development, and discuses about potential adjustment and implementation of these principles in rural regions of Serbia in a way to foster growth of entrepreneurship and product innovation.