Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.58 No.3 (2006)

Vol.58 No.3 (2006)



Professor Mutsuo Nishimura, the late Former President of the Human Geographical Society of Japan (1)


Local Revitalization and Planning for Health and Welfare Promotion in Nishiaizu Machi, Fukushima Prefecture
MIYAZAWA Hitoshi (5)


A Survey of Geographical Studies in Japan (23)
Annual Reviews, 2005

Progress Reports
Study of the Old Japanese Maps
MIYOSHI Tadayoshi (66)

Housing Policy
OHBA Shigeaki (71)

Research Notes

Regional and Gender Differences in Life Courses and Related Factors:
Life Courses after High School in Kanazawa and Yokohama
NAKAZAWA Takashi, KAMIYA Hiroo, KINOSHITA Reiko (78)

Meeting Reports

19th Meeting of Asian Area Studies (97)
2nd Meeting of Geographical Education (99)
82nd Meeting of Geographical Thought, 99th Meeting of Historical Geography (101)
News (103)


Local Revitalization and Planning for Health and Welfare Promotion in Nishiaizu Machi, Fukushima Prefecture

(Faculty of Letters and Education, Ochanomizu University)

The rapid aging of the Japanese population is giving rise to concerns that it will cause the national economy to decline due to a rise in the social security burden, a view that could be expressed as “social security is a burden on economic growth.” On the other hand, the emergence of a giant “silver” market and the growth of the service industry in response to the large rise in the number of elderly persons are to be expected. In particular, it is hoped that new jobs will be created through the growth of laborintensive social services, thereby alleviating unemployment. In this manner, the relationship between the burdening and the beneficial effects of social security has become a major issue in the rapidly aging Japanese society. This study aims to elucidate the relationship between social security and regional economies and examines the effect of social security on local revitalization by taking up the case of regional planning for health and welfare promotion in Nishiaizu Machi, Fukushima Prefecture, in the form of a program called “Regional Planning for Total Care.” This regional planning program was launched in the mid1980s to stem the rise in medical expenses, with a particular focus on health promotion activities. While health promotion can go a long way toward reducing the need for nursing care, the emergence of significant numbers of elderly persons requiring nursing care is inevitable, and thus the socialization of nursing care is also being implemented as part of regional planning. The results of this study are summarized below.
The regional planning program has produced considerable results in terms of improving social infrastructure, promoting job creation, and spurring consumption. The jobs created in organizations associated with this regional planning program represent 5.8% of total employment in Nishiaizu Machi, with social welfare corporations accounting for a significant share of newlycreated jobs through their employment of large numbers of professional workers. These organizations and their employees have also created consumer demand in the local economy amounting to as much as 500 million Yen, which is equivalent to 9.4% of annual retail sales in Nishiaizu Machi. In addition to such economic effects, the regional planning program has contributed to the development of diversified human resources by winning the cooperation of academic experts and central government bureaucrats, by promoting the hiring of experienced health and social care workers by the government and affiliated organizations, and by fostering the development of many semiexperts among residents through training programs. Educational campaigns for health promotion are carried out for residents through the use of such specialized manpower. These activities are effective in terms of promoting more healthy eating habits, preventing diseases, and increasing the average life expectancy of residents, and, as a result, are helping stem the rise in medical expenses. These positive achievements in terms of health promotion have been highly commended by various Ministries and academic societies, and have been publicized throughout Japan through academic journals and magazines. Local residents also have a high regard for these health promotion activities and their appreciation has helped forge Nishiaizu Machi’s identity as “the town of health promotion.”
These economic effects and the associated development of human resources have contributed to revitalizing the regional economy and community of Nishiaizu Machi, an underpopulated municipality situated in a peripheral area. According to the analysis of local public finance, the reason for the feasibility of such a comprehensive regional planning program is the fact that Nishiaizu Machi receives a large amount of dependent revenue resources that originate from interregional income transfers from the metropolitan area to local areas, based on the local finance adjustment system. However, regardless of its contributions to local revitalization, this regional planning program stands at a critical juncture today because dependent revenue resources, which have already diminished, will be further constricted in the future owing to the structural reforms currently being implemented in Japan.
This article provides a perspective on ways to sustain social security in a national context where it is viewed as a burden on economic growth and as easy prey during times of fiscal difficulty. A deepening of the debate on the ideal relationship between social security and the regional economy, public finances, and local autonomy is called for.

Key words: social security, preventive medical care, local revitalization, local finance, Nishiaizu Machi, Fukushima Prefecture

Regional and Gender Differences in Life Courses and Related Factors:
LifeCourses after High School in Kanazawa and Yokohama

(Oita University, Faculty of Economics)
(Kanazawa University, Faculty of Letters)
(Izumi High School)

Life courses are socially constructed under various opportunities and constraints. The regions that were and are inhabited by people are the major providers of both opportunities and constraints. The purpose of this study is to comparatively analyze the life courses of ex-students of two high schools, on the basis of questionnaire surveys and interviews. The authors view this study from a gender perspective because the opportunities and constraints provided by a region influence gender differently.
One of the high schools under observation in this study is located in Kanazawa and the other is in Yokohama. Kanazawa is situated at a distance from both Tokyo and Osaka, whereas Yokohama lies in the Tokyo metropolitan area and has a population of over three and a half million. This study refers to ex-students of the high school in Kanazawa as the Kanazawa respondents, and those of the high school in Yokohama as the Yokohama respondents.
In order to identify the regional factors that characterize life courses, other factors that may influence their formation should be controlled. Therefore, the authors chose two high schools that were similar with regard to the ability and social status of the students. Most of the students of these two high schools proceede to pursue higher education after completing high school.
First, the decision-making process regarding life courses after high school was analyzed. The differences with regard to why respondents choose a specific university / college and a specific job on completion of their educational career were clearer between regions than between genders.
The Yokohama respondents had many alternatives in their choice of educational institutions and jobs. They tended to choose universities / colleges on the basis of mere curiosity or the popularity of the institution. While searching for jobs, they valued workplaces that had a corporate culture or were large firms.
There exist few educational institutions, however, in Kanazawa, and there do not exist many job opportunities for highly educated people. In this situation, the Kanazawa respondents were influenced by the advice of their teachers and parents in deciding upon universities / colleges and in job hunting.
The actual life courses of women reflected these regional differences in the decision-making process. There were differences in the type of education they received and their careers after education. In the case of the male respondents, these aspects regarding life courses are rather similar between the Kanazawa and Yokohama respondents. These facts show that the opportunities and constraints provided by a region influence the life courses of the two genders differently.
Second, the authors investigated the regional differences in life course trajectory and household formation. The Kanazawa respondents were imbued with the norm that the eldest son should cohabit with his parents. Many male Kanazawa respondents proceeded to study at universities in Tokyo or Osaka. There were many jobs that were suitable for the highly educated in these metropolitan areas. However, a majority of the respondents returned to their hometowns, and currently, a significant number of them live with their parents after marriage. This enabled the married female Kanazawa respondents to share housework and childcare by cohabiting with their parents. This is one of the reasons why the married female Kanazawa respondents undertook paid work more actively than the married female Yokohama respondents.
Trajectories of the life courses of the Yokohama respondents mostly lay within the Tokyo metropolitan area. However, few of them lived with their parents after marriage. The Yokohama respondents considered marriage to mean the new formation of a nuclear family household. They were almost free from the “feudalistic” norm that affected the Kanazawa respondents. However, this situation made it difficult for these married women to accomplish both paid work and housework without help from their parents.
The norm that explicitly constructs the life courses of men do influence women’s life courses. Life course theory focuses on an individual’s life that is formed by various careers, such as housing, family, and occupational careers and that is interactive with the lives of others. The research results support the adequacy of the concept.
Third, the authors investigated the residential arrangement that the unmarried had with their parents. There was a cleavage in the cohabitation rate of the female respondents in their early and late 30s with their parents in both the Kanazawa and Yokohama respondents: the rate is smaller for females in their late 30s. This tendency is more marked in the Yokohama respondents than in the Kanazawa respondents. This cleavage was not identified in the Kanazawa and Yokohama male respondents.
Affection for birthplace and the family was a common reason for the unmarried adults to stay at their parental homes. The discriminative reason provided by the male Kanazawa respondents was, “Because I am the eldest son.” This is clearly related to the norm mentioned earlier.  This study revealed that the social construction of life courses under opportunities and regional constraints differed among genders.

Key words: life courses, regional differences, gender differences, Kanazawa, Yokohama

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