Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.59 No.4 (2007)

Vol.59 No.4 (2007)



Relationships between Local Environmental Movements and the Region: A Case Study of Lake Kasumigaura
ASANO Toshihisa (1)

Research Notes

Extension Mechanisms of the Develop-and-Import Scheme of Rush Products by Japanese Trading Firms in China
GOTO Takuya (23)
Evolution and Role of Conservation Activities Directed at Terraced Paddy Fields:
A Case Study of Two Villages in Okayama Prefecture
KANDA Tatuya (40)
Spatially Varying NEET Factors in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area: A Moving Window Path Analysis
YABE Naoto (57)

Book Review (71)

Meeting Reports

261st Regular Meeting (73)
107th Meeting of Historical Geography (76)
89th Meeting of Geographical Thought (78)


Relationships between Local Environmental Movements and the Region:
A Case Study of Lake Kasumigaura

ASANO Toshihisa
(Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University)

This paper tries to clarify the relationships between local environmental movements and the region based on a case study of Lake Kasumigaura and its surrounding area. Data were collected mainly through interviews with the leaders of citizensユ groups in the Kasumigaura area. In addition, newsletters and restricted documents of these groups were important information sources used to trace their activities intermittently over a period of about twenty years.
After the 6th International Conference on the Conservation of Lakes in Tsuchiura and Tsukuba cities, environmental movements concerned with Lake Kasumigaura split into two groups, one led by the Kasumigaura Citizensユ Association and the other by the Asaza Fund (and the Citizens for Improvement of Lakes Kasumigaura and Kitaura)(hereinafter KCA and AF, respectively). Despite the split, the movements have become more active and their management scales have expanded since this conference.
KCA was established by uniting nature conservation society members with people from economic circles. This group aims to restore the lake to its former cleanliness so that all residents can swim or play in it. Thus, it performs water quality surveys and conducts environmental education campaigns. AF aims to restore the rich ecosystem of the lake and organizes a nature restoration project supported by many school children, city residents, fishermen, and farmers.
This paper presents five points about the relationships between the local environmental movements and the Kasumigaura region.
(1) Involvement in eutrophication control: The environmental movements in this area began to counter eutrophication of the lake. They acted as pressure groups to demand regulation against eutrophication, as surveillance monitors of the environmental administration, and propagators of environmental lifestyles in cooperation with local governments.
(2) Opposition to water resource development of Lake Kasumigaura: Protests against development projects have not succeeded in this area, but there have recently been signs of change. For example, the water level operation of the lake was suspended because of an AF protest. This case shows that the citizensユ groups are gaining greater leverage.
(3) Citizensユ participation in nature restoration projects: In some regards, the movements are changing from anti―establishment ones into cooperative ones. In particular, citizen participation is becoming popular in nature restoration projects. The citizenユs groups enhance this effect.
(4) Design and coordination of new regional sustainable businesses: Citizensユ groups are contributing to creating some new businesses concerned with sustainable resource use. These provide an opportunity for collaboration with various stakeholders.
(5) Contribution to raise residentsユ environmental consciousness: Each group advertises future visions of the lake as goals. Discussion between the groups and local governments are reported in the media and many residents know the environmental issues related to Lake Kasumigaura. This direct or indirect information may affect the residentsユ environmental consciousness in the long term.
Although these are results obtained from a case study of Lake Kasumigaura and its surrounding area, they can be understood as general characteristics of environmental movements. An environmental citizensユ group plays various roles between residents and the local government in order to accomplish the groupユs aim. For example, concerned with environmental pollution or development problems, a group protests against the national or local government as a representative of the residents. On the other hand, the same group appeals to the residents to adopt a sustainable lifestyle in collaboration with the local government. A citizensユ group constructs environmental problems socially and carries weight in environmental policy making, creatively choosing its position between the residents and the local government.

Key words: environmental movement, regional environmental problems, Lake Kasumigaura, Kasumigaura Citizensユ Association, Asaza Fund

Extension Mechanisms of the Develop-and-Import Scheme of Rush Products
by Japanese Trading Firms in China

GOTO Takuya
(Faculty of Humanities, Kyushu University)

The purpose of this paper is to clarify the mechanisms of the develop-and-import scheme of rush products(tatami and goza rush mats) by Japanese trading firms from the viewpoint of economic geography. The results of this study are summarized as follows:
Import of rush products to Japan has increased remarkably since the mid-1980s. In this increase, Japanese trading firms located in older rush production areas have played significant roles. Especially the trading firms located in Okayama Prefecture have had control of the organization of the importersユ association, and have a large share in importing rush products from China.
The business procedures of Japanese trading firms in China are examined, taking the cases of the three largest trading firms(TOKURA & CO., LTD., IKEHIKO Corporation, and HAGIHARA & CO., LTD.). These trading firms have had connections with the Chinese market since before World War II, and these connections have contributed to extending their procurements in China after the mid-1980s. Moreover, these trading firms have arranged their procurement bases in Zhejiang Province, where the conditions for rush cultivation are the most ideal in China. The procurement strategies of Japanese trading firms have many similarities, and their behavior has had an influence on the remarkable development of the export regions in Zhejiang Province.
The development mechanisms of rush product suppliers by Japanese trading firms are examined. As a result, it is clear that Japanese trading firms started business relations with Chinese suppliers through production share trade, because it is very difficult to ensure the rush production materials in China. In addition, Japanese trading firms frequently give skilled technical guidance to their suppliers, because most of the Chinese workers have no experience in weaving rush products. Eventually, Japanese trading firms have developed their suppliers by transfering their domestic production materials and skills to China. However, the skill level of the rush product suppliers in Zhejiang Province is still insufficient and Japanese trading firms still rely somewhat on their relations with domestic rush production areas even now.
The author draws two conclusions on the mechanisms of the develop-and-import scheme by Japanese agribusiness. First, Japanese agribusinesses consider not only cost factors but also historical relations with the country, natural conditions in production areas, and the skill level of suppliers when they develop export-oriented regions in foreign countries. Second, the relationships between Japanese agribusinesses and their domestic production areas should be paid much attention, when we examine the mechanisms of develop-and-import schemes by Japanese agribusinesses.

Key words: develop-and-import scheme, agribusiness, trading firm, rush product, Japan, China

Evolution and Role of Conservation Activities Directed at Terraced Paddy Fields:
A Case Study of Two Villages in Okayama Prefecture

KANDA Tatuya
(Graduate student, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Okayama University)

In Japan, abandonment of arable land in terraced paddy fields has been caused by depopulation, aging, and agricultural policy in hilly and mountainous areas since the period of rapid economic growth. In the 1990s, conservative movements directed at terraced paddy fields were observed among municipalities as well as among the local inhabitants in the hilly and mountainous areas.
In this paper, the author examined the evolution of conservation activities directed at terraced paddy fields. He also attempted to compare the roles of organizations and their activities in two study areas, Ohaga District in Chuo Town and Kitasho District in Kumenan Town, both in Okayama Prefecture.
In Ohaga District, conservation activities were mainly led by the liaison board of the municipalities and the agricultural cooperative association. These activities have largely emphasized tourism to sell agriculture products and to promote enjoyment of the landscape. They are aimed at urban inhabitants or visitors.
On the other hand, in the case of Kitasho District, the activities were mainly initiated by the local communities. The conservative organization and the local inhabitantsユ organization have cooperated for the purpose of local revitalization, with conservation activities directed at terraced paddy fields as well as the organization of traditional events.
The directions and roles of these activities are characterized by the situation surrounding each of the organizations. Remaining problems are cooperation among organizations and decision making by local inhabitants in Ohaga District, and the appearance of a new leader in Kitasho District.

Key words: Key words: conservation activities directed at terraced paddy fields, local revitalization, hilly and mountainous areas, Okayama Prefecture

Spatially Varying NEET Factors in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area:
A Moving Window Path Analysis

YABE Naoto
(Department of Geography, Tokyo Metropolitan University)

A moving window path analysis has been developed to explore the spatially varying NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) factors in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Unemployment among young people has increased since the 1990s. With the lack of job opportunities for these people, the NEET problem is a growing concern in Japan. Previous research on NEET have highlighted that NEET factors take into account academic records, unemployment records, and whether or not young people are living with their parents. Since the Tokyo Metropolitan Area comprises sectors that have different characteristics, as in the inner city and the suburbs, a moving window regression is helpful in analyzing the spatially varying NEET factors. In order to explore the complicated relationships between these factors, moving window regression and path analysis are integrated to develop the moving window path analysis. A Monte Carlo test for spatial non-stationarity suggests that NEET factors spatially vary in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The results of the moving window path analysis reveal that junior high school graduates have a direct effect on NEET, mainly in the suburbs of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. It is also pointed out that those NEET who do not express a willingness to work occupy the majority in the suburban areas. In contrast, mainly in the inner city of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, junior high school graduates have an indirect effect on NEET due to unemployment. This implies that those NEET who express a willingness to work occupy the majority in the inner city. Based on these results, it can be stated that local governments need to implement substantive measures for NEET according to spatially varying factors.

Key words: young people, unemployment, NEET, spatial non-stationarity, moving window path analysis, Tokyo Metropolitan Area

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