Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.64 No.5(2012)

Vol.64 No.5(2012)



For Political Geography after the Cultural Turn : The Practical Geopolitics of the ‘Separation of Padania’ of the Northern League in Italy  1

Research Notes

Operation of Community―Based Services under the Long―Term Care Insurance System in Two Small Municipalities  21

Tecnological Learning and its Properties in Industrial Agglomerations : A Case Study in Tsubame city, Niigata prefecture  36

Éva Komlósi, FUJII Tadashi
Competitiveness of Japanese Functional Urban Areas (JFUAs) : Empirical Testing of the Pyramid Model  54


Geography and Wildlife Issues  72

Meeting Reports

276th Regular Meeting  82
44th Research Seminar of Metropolitan Area Study Group  84
110th  Research Seminar of Geographical Thought Study Group  87
24th Research Seminar of Education of Geographical Study Group 89


For Political Geography after the Cultural Turn : The Practical Geopolitics of the ‘Separation of Padania’ of the Northern League in Italy

Faculty of Humanities, Law and Economics, Mie University

The purpose of this paper is to rethink the concept of politics in geography and the relation between geography and politics. To do so we examine a case study of a practical geopolitical process produced by the attempt at the separation of ‘Padania’ from Italy in 1996 by the Lega Nord (Northern League).
Since the so―called ‘cultural turn,’ the sphere of politics in geography has been greatly broadened into a variety of realms such as daily life or geographical representations. However, it has seemed that this diffusion, even when producing fruitful results, has lacked sufficient critical reflection. It may even risk neglecting the autonomy of the concept of politics.
For this reason, we refer to the argument of the French philosopher Jacques Rancière, who has actively theorized about the autonomy of the concept of politics. He couples politics with the concept of the polis. On the one hand, the ‘polis’ spatializes communities of human beings cartographically, distributes them in that space, and allocates proper identities or positions, namely ‘parts’ to them. On the other hand, ‘politics’ is interruption of this spatialization from ‘the people’ who have no ‘parts’ there and forces the polis to change the whole spatial configuration of the community.
The geopolitical attempt to represent Northern Italy as ‘Padania’ by the Northern League was considered to be a mistake in Italy. The reason for this is that a political place called ‘Padania’ does not exist in Italy. However, the ‘Padanian people’ raised their voices, and by performing as if they embodied a ‘national’ form, tried to demonstrate that they were on a par with Italy. Padania was neither simply a space for a new nation, even if one were to speak of separation, nor an already existing region within Italy. Padania was not a clear―cut identifiable space, but a place of discomfort for exposing the ‘parts’ of the people who had no ‘parts.’ The nature of this discomfort could give rise to a political opportunity.
The Italian polis responded to and finally rejected the Padanian politics through the following four modes : The first was ‘parapolitics,’ a response particularly from the politically left―wing politicians, that rejected Padania, reducing it to the status of a region inside Italy by trying to eliminate its uncomfortable nature. The second was ‘ultrapolitics,’ mainly of the right―wing politicians, that identified Padania as the identified space of a seperate nation distinguished completely from Italy. The third was ‘metapolitics,’ which in this case was practiced by the Northern League itself. This means that the League considered the separation of Padania as merely a means for obtaining regional autonomy for the North within the Italian state. The fourth was ‘archipolitics’ which was also practiced by the Northern League itself. This saw Padania as an organic community in a globalizing world that needed to be defended from immigration and the circulation of commodities through border controls. All four of these modes exercised by the polis, but most decisively the last two modes, denied the politics of Padania. All of them, by actualizing Padania as a ‘region’ or as a nation’ that could be cartographically represented on a map, denied the politics.
In order to more deeply examine the concept of politics, one of the important tasks for contemporary political geography is to examine the formation of political communities that cannot be reduced to a cartographic representation.

Keywords : Lega Nord (Northern League), ‘Padania,’ politics, Rancière, cartographic reason, cultural turn

Operation of Community―Based Services under the Long―Term Care Insurance System in Two Small Municipalities

Department of Geography, Nihon University

With the revision of the long―term care insurance system in 2006, new community―based services were established. However, these services are insufficient in small municipalities with populations under 10,000. Here we study two examples : (1) the village of Sekikawa in Niigata Prefecture, which has excellent services ; and (2) the town of Yura in Wakayama Prefecture, which has no office of its own and instead receives wide―area services that cover the surrounding towns as well.
In Sekikawa, long―term care insurance services had traditionally been maintained both publicly and privately (such as day services and dementia patient care). Now these services, as well as the setup and structure of services for the long―term care insurance project, are being maintained according to the new administrative policy, mainly because these services are sufficient. However, with other projects such as hot springs falling under regional requirements, and with corporate management and individual actions of corporate executives being contributing factors, the high number of community―based services being set up in Sekikawa is clearly a highly fortuitous phenomenon.
In other words, putting services into effect in small municipalities is not purely the work of government administration. It also depends heavily on the participation of private business people. That being the case, the situation in Sekikawa cannot be said to be representative of small towns across the country. Accordingly, to gain a better sense of how these small municipalities’ services work in reality, the town of Yura in Wakayama Prefecture was studied. This town is the main focus of a community―based service office that serves multiple towns within a wide area.
The services offered by the office that serves Yura and the surrounding towns were accessed by only three people. This number is far lower than the number of people who utilized the services of the many offices serving the village of Sekikawa. For Yura, this goes beyond the scope of the utility of daily life and hardly constitutes anything resembling the idea of being ‘community―based’ for the locals.
What became clear from these two practical examples is that it is difficult for small municipalities to operate community―based services. Community―based services have strengthened municipal authority in supervising the assignment and direction of businesses more than the pre―existing long―term care insurance services had. Yet in municipalities where services are insufficient, administrative initiative is limited, and these towns cannot count on business contributions.

Key Words : small municipalities, community―based services under the Long―Term Care Insurance System, service management business, wide―area services, Sekikawa Village, Yura Town

Tecnological Learning and its Properties in Industrial Agglomerations : A Case Study in Tsubame city, Niigata prefecture

Kagawa Prefectual Government

The purpose of this paper is to examine the process and salient features of the technological learning pursued by private firms in an industrial agglomeration area and to elucidate the impact of this learning on the agglomeration. This industrial agglomeration involves the production of cutlery and other metal housewares, and it was formed in Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture. Since the 1980s, however, the firms in the city have entered new manufacturing fields or have developed new products by pursuing technological learning with the aim of acquiring the necessary technologies. Based on the accumulation of their own metal processing technologies, particularly for stainless products, these firms have attempted to develop new technology through trial and error. To overcome difficult issues that they cannot resolve themselves, the firms have cooperated with outside institutions such as related companies, universities, and official research organizations.
Spatial expansion and diversification have been under way in this technological learning observed in Tsubame. This is because the search for sources for acquiring the technologies themselves has generally tended to expand to firms or universities beyond a particular agglomeration, and extensive activities of information collection to support technological development reflecting new market demand have become dominant. Such extensive and diverse technological learning from outside agents has given rise to the diversification of technologies within this agglomeration area and the enlargement of product variety, resulting in a diversity within this previously homogenous area. Meanwhile, the fact is that the present circumstances of new technology acquisition and new product development have not necessarily led to the growth of the agglomeration area as a whole.

Key words : industrial agglomeration, technological learning, research and development, fabricated metal products, Tsubame City

Competitiveness of Japanese Functional Urban Areas (JFUAs) : Empirical Testing of the Pyramid Model

Éva Komlósi
graduate research assistant Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Pecs
FUJII Tadashi
professor Faculty of Regional Sciences, Tottori University

In the present study, we propose a method to determine the competitiveness of spatial units in a more objective manner, which aims at improving the underpinning as well as ex―post assessment of regional planning. 141 JFUAs were created as spatial units based on the method introduced by Osada (2003). These JFUAs were classified into three clusters in terms of their competitiveness with the help of the Pyramid Model (Lengyel, 2004). The analysis of the clusters confirmed a significant gap between the Tokyo JFUA and the other urban areas of the country and highlighted the uneven nature of the distribution of economic, human and institutional resources in the country. On the other hand, as one of the most important contributions of our paper, we point out the existence of 22 small and medium―sized JFUAs with medium competitiveness which can have an important role in the creation of a more balanced urban development. The investigation also contributed to finding out which factors were responsible for the differentiation in competitiveness among urban areas. Although size is the most prevalent determinant of Japanese urban competitiveness, other factors or circumstances seem to be able to mobilize local resources to attain successful development of an urban area. The small and medium―sized JFUAs in Cluster 2 with medium competitiveness serve as a good example.

Key words : competitiveness, Japanese Functional Urban Areas (JFUAs), Pyramid Model

Geography and Wildlife Issues

Faculty of Letters, Nara University

In recent years, we have seen remarkable problems with wildlife in Japan such as damage to agricultural crops done by wild boar, sika deer, Japanese macaques, and crows. And we have experienced notable ecological damage as well as damage to human livelihood from introduced animals such as raccoons, nutria, and feral livestock (goats, pigs, inobuta) in Japan as well.
The annual cost of agricultural damage done by wild boar, sika deer, Japanese macaques, and crows are estimated at around \6.8 billion, \7.8 billion, \1.9 billion, and \2.3 billion respectively in 2010. The annual cost of agricultural damage by raccoons and nutria are estimated at around \350 million and \100 million respectively in 2010.
We can recognize that human activities such as increasing abandonment of cultivated land, and clumps of bamboo, have encouraged the recent invasion by wild animals. This invasion of wild animals also occurs due to decreasing rural manpower through the recent aging of society. Many cases of introduced―animal problems also happen through human activities such as the release of pets and livestock, rough keeping of pets and livestock, etc.
These wildlife issues have become current topics socially as well as in the academic world. In geography, humans and wildlife have been an important theme. Consequently, the recent wildlife issues are a typical theme of geography. Wildlife issues are also good geographical teaching materials.
The recent wildlife issues are also practical problems that require countermeasures. Geographical approaches that contribute to this problem are full of potential and are necessary today.

Key words : geography, biogeography, humans and wildlife, wildlife issues

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