Geographical Review of Japan
Online ISSN : 2185-1727
Print ISSN : 1347-9555
ISSN-L : 1347-9555
Actors and Spatial Characteristics of Local Non-profit Organizations
Yosuke MAEDA
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2008 Volume 81 Issue 6 Pages 425-448


Recently, “the shift from government to governance” has been discussed widely in Japan. While the third sector has gained power around the world, non-profit organizations have also been expected to be actors in governance in Japan. This paper examines the spatial charac non-profit organizations and particularly looks at the non-profit organizations working scale. Local non-profit organizations are also counted on as actors in local governance.
While the spatial characteristics of non-profit organizations have been discussed in the field of geography abroad, there has been little research on them in Japan. Moreover, there is also little geographic research on actors in non-profit organizations in terms of spatial characteristics, which is the focus of this paper. The purpose of the paper is to illustrate the background of spatial distribution of non-profit organizations in a metropolitan area, with special attention to the actors in non-profit organizations and their development. The research area was the Tokyo metropolitan area and Tama city, which is located in the western suburbs of Tokyo. In addition, the paper focuses on non-profit organizations with corporate bodies. The results of the analysis and discussions are summarized as follows.
First, the spatial distribution of non-profit organizations in the Tokyo metropolitan area was examined, with the following results. 1) While many non-profit organizations are concentrated in central Tokyo, many are also located in suburban areas, especially in the western part of Tokyo. 2) The spatial range of activities differs between non-profit organizations in central Tokyo and those in the suburban area. While many of the former work in a wide area from global to regional ranges, many of the latter work on a local scale.
Second, the case study of Tama City in Tokyo's western suburbs yielded the following results. 1) There are more married female staff who support the daily activities of non-profit organizations, and in many cases they work part time or as volunteers. This result illustrates the effect of the gender division of labor. 2) Contemporary local non-profit organizations have been developed based on city-wide sentakuen (selective networks of personal contacts related to their own residence) formed over time. These points are especially characteristic of suburbs. Therefore, these results explain why many local non-profit organizations are in suburban areas, especially Tokyo's western suburbs. Moreover, considering, all results at the actor level, it appears that the spatial distribution of local non-profit organizations reflects the socioregional structure of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

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