Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.66 No.2(2014)

Vol.66 No.2(2014)



SUGIURA Shin’ichiro
A Comparative Analysis of Jointly Administered Long-term Care Insurance under the Stepped Premium System in Two Combinations of Municipalities 1

Research Note

HAYASHI Yasumasa
Dissolution of a Former Railway Right-of-way from the Early 20th Century : A case study of the Tono Railway in Gifu Prefecture, Japan 20


Geography Education Research Trends at the Commission of Geographical Education of the International Geographical Union in Relation to Research in Japan 30

Meeting Reports

133rd Research Seminar of Historical Geography Study Group 51
114th Research Seminar of Geographical Thought Study Group 54
47th 48th Research Seminar of Metropolitan Area Study Group 55
27th 28th Research Seminar of Education of Geography Study Group 61
7th Research Seminar of Political Geography Study Group 66

News 68


A Comparative Analysis of Jointly Administered Long-term Care Insurance under the Stepped Premium System in Two Combinations of Municipalities

SUGIURA Shin’ichiro
Faculty of Urban Science, Meijo University

Since April 2000, a long-term care insurance system has been operating in Japan. Even though in principle each municipality is considered a separate insurer, the national government also permits joint administration of the system by several municipalities, mainly out of consideration for small municipalities that often have fiscal and personnel problems. From a geographical viewpoint, joint system administration is important because there are inconsistent relationships among each of the constituent municipalities of joint insurers between insurance benefits and burdens, which are the premiums for Category 1 insured persons (those aged 65 and over). This paper examines the joint administrations of two insurers : the Okinawa Wide Area Union for Long-term Care Insurance (OWAU), and the Shiribeshi Wide Area Union (SWAU). These insurers have a system of stepped premiums that divides constituent municipalities into plural groups based on each insurer’s particular choice. This paper analyzes these two systems from the viewpoint of the gap between the imposed premium amounts for joint insurers (A) and what the premium amounts would be (B) for each municipality under an individually administered system. Index of Premiums of Joint-insurers or (PJ) is equal to (A) divided by (B).
The principal findings are as follows :
The Okinawa Wide Area Union or OWAU, which consists of 28 municipalities, assigned its constituent municipalities to one of three groups based on the premium amounts for each municipality that were derived from accurate calculations based on the operation plan of the joint insurer. OWAU’s imposition system makes the PJs of several municipalities large, especially for municipalities whose premium amounts under independent insurers would be either very high or very low. Municipalities that would have the lowest premium amounts under independent insurers are made to pay premiums that are approximately 1.9 times as high ; others would have had to pay the highest premiums get a discount of up to about 35%.
The Shiribeshi Wide Area Union or SWAU consists of 16 municipalities and also has a system of stepped premiums. But its system differs from that of OWAU because it treats municipalities without grouping them. On each constituent municipality, SWAU imposes different premium amounts that are derived from direct and precise calculations based on the operation plan. This imposition system promotes responsibility in each municipality for its long-term care insurance operation and financial administration.
Compared with SWAU, the OWAU grouping system has two main problems : the blurring of fiscal control for each municipality’s profit or loss, and the way municipalities are grouped together. The first is mainly due to errors in estimating the cost of services in the operation plans of the joint-insurers. As for the second problem, there is a limit to how far the PJs can be reduced as long as the grouping system is embraced. Based on the above analysis, the author proposes a better method of joint administration by combining : 1) grouping municipalities with the highest premiums together to avoid excessively high impositions ; 2) grouping the mid-level premium municipalities together to reduce PJs ; and 3) independently insuring the municipalities on which the lowest premiums are imposed.

Key words: social security, long-term care insurance, joint administration, wide area union, imposition of stepped premiums

Dissolution of a Former Railway Right-of-way from the Early 20th Century :
A case study of the Tono Railway in Gifu Prefecture, Japan

HAYASHI Yasumasa
Graduate Student, Chubu University

This study examines how land use and ownership changed during the construction of a light railway and changed again after its abandonment. The author analyzes the case of the former Tono Railway running through the old Kani district of Gifu Prefecture between 1918 and 1928.
The results are summarized as follows : First, in terms of land use, most of the vacant land in the southern segment of the railway right-of-way remained in a state of wilderness after the abandonment of the railway, while the northern part showed a tendency to be transformed back to fields immediately. This difference can be explained by the fact that the land in the northern area was estimated to be more valuable than that in the southern area during this period.
Second, from the viewpoint of land ownership, the promoters of the Tono Railway and various influential people had owned the southern part of the railway right-of-way before its construction. This railway land was bought back by the original landowners after the abandonment of the railway. However, the northern segment of the railway land that had belonged to many local people before the opening of the railway later came to be owned by people adjacent to the railway right-of-way.
Through careful examination, it was learned that the dismantling of the southern segment of the railway was delayed in comparison with the northern segment. It is possible that the results of this study may help in understanding differences in land use and land values between large and small-scale land owners.

Key words : Abandoned Tono Railway site, land value, land ownership, early 20th century, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

Geography Education Research Trends at the Commission of Geographical Education of the International Geographical Union in Relation to Research in Japan

Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies, Joetsu University of Education


Studies on educational practice and research overseas have been very popular in Japan, a nation with a centralized national curriculum system. In particular, in the social studies subject field, many studies have been conducted in geography education. However, much of this research has focused on the state of geography education in specific countries, like the United States, European countries, and Australia, or on introducing the Japanese situation to non-Japanese people. Few studies have provided a comprehensive international comparative perspective on geography education. To address this gap and foster more research of this sort in the future, we have to grasp the past and present state of geography education practice and research around the world, that is, from a historical and global viewpoint. In pursuit of this goal, this paper aims to focus on the Commission of Geographical Education (CGE) of the International Geographical Union (IGU).
CGE, established in 1952 under UNESCO’s mandate to promote education in the service of the goal of peace, has had as a perennial focus on professional geography teacher education research, as well as a succession of other research themes from international understanding to teaching/learning theory, environmental education, and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The IGU-CGE conference in Tokyo in 1980 was a turning point for participation in CGE activities by Japanese researchers and teachers. The 1992 IGU-CGE Conference in Colorado and Washington, D. C., which many Japanese also attended, provided significant encouragement to the international geography learning resources development project, and to research.
Papers in International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education (IRGEE), published since 1992 by CGE, have presented much valuable information. One such paper, which investigated the state of geography education practices around the world, informs us that the regional geography curriculum approach has never been rejected entirely, as previous Japanese research had reported. Some other papers have revealed the controversy surrounding the relationship between geography education and environmental education, which revolved around the fundamental nature of the values and attitudes embodied in the geography classroom. One consequence of this debate was a decrease in papers specifically focused on environmental education in IRGEE.
Based on the above observations, a sense of the uniqueness of Japanese geography education emerges : namely, it ascribes greater importance than geography education in other countries to the understanding of regional geography, in particular covering all regions in the same detail. This implies a need for students to master an enormous amount of factual knowledge. In order to resolve this issue, it will be necessary to reconsider the sequence of the Japanese geography curriculum and the concept of a “region” in Japan, with reference to the expertise of academic geographers and the successes of IGU-CGE.

Key words : geographical education, environmental education, social studies, international understanding, regional geography learning, region

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