The Human Geographical Society of Japan « Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.66 No.3(2014)

Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.66 No.3(2014)

Vol.66 No.3(2014)



Existing Structure and Prospects for Cattle Production Areas under Pressure from Beef Imports :
A Case Study of Hokkaido after Trade Liberalization in Japan 1


NARUSE Atsushi
Philosophical Arguments about the Concept of Place 23

A Survey of Geographical Studies in Japan, 2013 43


Meeting Reports

280th Regular Meeting 90
115th Research Seminar of Geographical Thought Study Group 91

News 93


Existing Structure and Prospects for Cattle Production Areas under Pressure from Beef Imports :
A Case Study of Hokkaido after Trade Liberalization in Japan

KAWAKUBO Atsushi  Faculty of Law, Toyo University

In the recent course of economic globalization, the TPP negotiations have almost concluded. Japan is facing tax issues with its major agricultural produce. If tariffs are abolished, import quantities are expected to increase substantially, especially of rice, wheat, meat, dairy products, and sugar. There are growing concerns over the unsustainability of producing areas and impoverishment of rural communities.
Taking into account this situation, this paper focuses on beef, analyzing the current existing structure of beef cattle producing areas, and projecting measures for such areas going forwards. Two dairy-beef cattle producing areas in Hokkaido (Shihoro town and Ashoro town) were employed as case studies, and the following was found :
First, in Shihoro Town, in the 1970s the local Agricultural Cooperatives set up 18 beef cattle centers with over 1000 head of cattle each, which contributed to the growth of cattle farming. Characteristics of the beef cattle centers include : 1. They receive large loans from the local Agricultural Cooperatives, so that they can build a robust basis for management ; 2. There is a high dependency on employed labor ; 3. Since the cropped segment is small, animal feed is almost completely procured from outside ; and 4. In the farming operation, the focus is placed on the efficiency of raising cattle rather than improving the quality of beef. In other words, cattle farming in Shihoro Town survived amid international competition through large-scale low-cost management.
Meanwhile, in Ashoro Town production did not sufficiently expand, and since the liberalization of beef imports (1991), producing areas started to decline as the profitability was down remarkably. However, from 2000 on, after the signing of a breeding-and-sales contract with Chikuren Agricultural Cooperatives, which is committed to producing safe and trustworthy beef, management became stabilized as the decline was arrested. The contract does not allow farmers to have ownership of cattle, nor allow discretion over feed selection or the number of growing days ; however, a sufficient amount of feeding and management commissions is paid after shipping. Therefore farming business significantly improved and farmers’ evaluation of this beef production system is very high.
However, both areas have a large number of fiscal years showing losses, and most farmers cannot continue to run their businesses without a government system making up for losses by using funds from tariffs on imported beef. Depressed prices for dairy-beef since import liberalization have prevented farmers from maintaining their independent beef cattle businesses, and created a structure where such farmers cannot avoid being dependent on the Japan Agricultural Cooperatives and other governmental funds.
Therefore, reduced tariffs will have a serious influence on dairy beef cattle production areas in Japan, so the areas must prepare for that situation. It is important to improve information disclosure on aspects such as the advantages of Japanese domestic produce which imported products do not have, such as taste and safety, as well as traceability. It is also important to communicate such information to consumers through direct sales at retailers. However, differentiation through such means is not perfect, and it is necessary to continue making efforts to reduce costs to close the gap in price between imported beef and domestic products.

Key words: pressure from beef imports, cattle production areas, existing structure, large-scale management, direct sales, Hokkaido Region

Philosophical Arguments about the Concept of Place

NARUSE Atsushi  Part-time Lecturer, Tokyo Keizai University

The concept of place in geography has been varied. The aim of this paper is to find a direction for the conceptualization of place without the premise of modern spatial concepts by investigating concepts related to place in ancient Greek philosophy. First, I examine Plato’s concept of ‘chora’ in Timaeus and Aristotle’s concept of ‘topos’ in Physics. Second, I try to place these concepts within the history of geography by tracing the genealogy of chorography and topography from ancient times. Finally, I consider the arguments made by contemporary philosophers about these concepts.
Plato’s ‘chora’ has been explained as a third category between being and becoming, namely the alternative. Aristotle’s ‘topos’ can be understood as being a substitute for the dualism of form and matter, or that which wraps and that which is wrapped. These concepts resemble the concept of place in humanistic geography, which depended on phenomenology to overcome the dualism of subject and object. Although humanistic geography has emphasized the meanings and senses of place, conventional geography has incorporated in its concepts the materiality and substantiality of place. Consequently, geographers have argued about the ambivalence surrounding the concept of place. In contrast, this paper adopts a way of thinking that grasps matter and the spatial as being inseparable, from the contemporary interpretation of the concepts ‘chora’ and ‘topos.’ Place itself has no nature, but rather a power to bring something from an absent state into a present state. Derrida’s examination of ‘chora’ has suggested that such a concept of place has so far not been fully grasped, but been understood as being irreducible to a definite thing. In a case study of a certain city, for instance, this concept may help to realize the intangible component of that city.
We can gain a deeply sexual understanding of place by referring to the sexual expressions used by Plato in his metaphor of chora and by exploring Irigaray’s discussion about topos. However, it would be phallocentric to pursue this topic without also considering what feminist critics have said about gender and sexuality in relation to the creativity of place. Irigaray regarded the wrapped and that which wraps as the (parts of) bodies of man and woman, and argued that the interval between them is the threshold of sexual difference. The Aristotelian definition of topos has led commentators’ attention to the relationship between the inside and outside. It can be said that Aristotle’s definition is similar to Massey’s theory of place.
The history of chorography and topography are the key to understanding what different lines of thought have been formed out of the concepts of chora and topos. Although chorography and chorology have been neglected as idiographic studies prior to the quantitative revolution in geography, we might still learn many things from these histories.
The concept of place has been increasingly taking on significant meaning in modern times. There is still much room to examine aspects of this concept that have yet to be explored. Although we cannot do without the concept of place, we must also refrain from burdening it with superfluous value.

Key words : place, feminism, chora, topos, chorography, topography