Major changes are taking place in public health nursing in Japan. These include significant developments in employment, education, and roles of public health nurses (PHNs). Demographic and economic factors have prompted the Japanese government to focus health service delivery on community-based care, particularly for the growing elderly population. Public health nurses are redefining their roles and are assuming important functions in planning, implementing, and evaluating community health programs for the elderly. Japanese PHNs are using a variety of health promotion strategies to initiate change at the local level. This article presents two case studies to highlight the leadership role of PHNs in creating new services that foster healthy communities.