This paper explores the roles of matchmaking agencies (MAs) in international marriages in contemporary Japan by identifying them from such sources as Yahoo Japan's website, telephone directory, and a website of international marriage agencies. With the selected agencies, in-depth interview surveys were conducted, and the following findings were obtained. Many MAs started matchmaking services due to their own personal experiences with international marriage. For Japanese men, the main motivation for international marriage is the difficulty of finding Japanese women to marry. Regarding the spatial distribution of Japanese clients, there is an obvious distance-decay tendency: the shorter the distance from a particular MA office, the more clients. MAs provide various kinds of advice about preparing documents to help foreign wives of Japanese clients acquire spouse visas. Although many MAs are conscientious, they are wary of unscrupulous agencies. Furthermore, based on interviews with immigration officials, at least one-third of all international marriages registered in Japan are agency-based marriages. These results suggest that the significance of MAs needs to be favorably evaluated in the context of Japan's current population, which started to decline in 2005. Foreign brides as new residents might obtain permanent residence status in Japan and should be supported by national and local governments.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area is typified by such geographic features as rapid urbanization, a high population concentration, dynamic industrial development, and ethnic-cultural diversity. It is also the home of many Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans, who have participated in the growth of the metropolis and have contributed to the formation of its regional character. With respect to the areas known as Gardena and Torrance, which are characterized by urban sprawl, the existence of a large Japanese population, and Japanese engagement in farming, land use changes were examined from the beginning of the twentieth century through to approximately 2007. The Japanese began cultivating strawberries in Gardena by initially leasing small tracts of farmland without competing with local Caucasian farmers who specialized in other crops. Strawberries therefore existed as a niche crop for Japanese immigrants up until the end of the 1910s. Due to the fact that Japanese farmers were successful at cultivating vegetables up to the outbreak of the Japan-US war, the kinds of farming practiced therefore underwent diversification. Following the end of the war, vegetable production declined, however, whereas the nursery and gardening industries prospered in response to increasing urban development. At the same time, the Japanese population rose dramatically in Gardena due to the suburbanization of the Japanese population. Following the 1980s, the number of nurseries began to decline; yet, direct investment by the Japanese increased, leading to changes to both the local Japanese economy and the communities of Gardena and Torrance. The process by which these changes occurred was documented and the consequent pattern of land use was analyzed using aerial photographs and field observations. At present, Japanese farming can only be found in small scattered nurseries including those located beneath high voltage power transmission lines and at the site of the Torrance Municipal Airport. The Japanese farming landscape that survives today is clearly a leftover from a successful past, whereas more recent Japanese involvement has provided a new distinctiveness to the Gardena and Torrance areas.
Assessments of telemedicine from a geographical perspective have generated a variety of opinions with regard to its distribution and optimal spatial organization. Such discussions are associated with the fundamental question of health care, in other words, the balance between equity and efficiency in health care services. Accordingly, these discussions are concerned with the extent to how telemedicine can complement insufficient medical services (equity) and how telemedicine plays a role in making a profit for patients or medical institutions (efficiency). Within such contexts, it is stipulated that telemedicine in Korea and Japan aims to promote regional health care and has emerged on basis for each diagnostic area controlled at a tertiary-care level. In spite of its significance and the rise of informatization in health care, few have attempted to address telemedicine in geography. Therefore, this paper presents arguments on the geographical characteristics related to two aspects of telemedicine—distribution and network—in Korea and Japan and explores each telemedicine operation through two cases. For the most part, the medical institutions involved with telemedicine in Korea are distributed in Kyunggi (the central part of Korea as the metropolitan area). As for Japanese telemedicine, the medical institutions supplying and receiving telemedicine are mainly located in the northern and southern parts of Japan, but not in metropolitan areas. Regarding telemedicine networks, the nationwide medical institutions receiving telemedicine are considerably involved with the medical institutions providing telemedicine in Kyunggi. Contrary to the Korean case, the Japanese telemedicine networks are based in each diagnostic area and are controlled at a tertiary care level. Moreover, some of the outlying Japanese telemedicine networks lack strong referral relationships with metropolitan areas, unlike those in Korea. Therefore, it is not an oversimplification to say that the geographic characteristics of telemedicine in Korea and Japan can be summarized as “centralized” and “decentralized,” respectively. The differences in their traditional health care systems and development processes and the distinctions regarding how telemedicine is used as well as the knowledge of patients and medical workers all have a significant effect on such geographical characteristics. Accordingly, the geographical phenomena of telemedicine are influenced not only by technological aspects but also social and medical circumstances.
This study aimed to discuss the effectiveness of mixed development, which generates a socially mixed community, in avoiding the neighborhood aging problems that can arise in Japanese suburban neighborhoods. Discussions on social mix in Japan would contribute to the development of sustainable and inclusive communities. We examined the case of Narita New Town, which consists of diverse housing types, and clarified how and why socially mixed neighborhoods have been developed and sustained for decades. Hypotheses of this study on the relationship between mixed development and sustainability of an area were described: 1) mixed development can generate constant housing supply in the area, and it may cause substantial housing demands for both newly built and second-hand houses in the area; 2) supply of second-hand houses promotes movement of existing residents within the area; and 3) these active movements work efficiently to avoid the aging problem of the whole area, thus the area and their community can be sustainable for a long time. As a result, the elderly population rate of Narita New Town remained lower than that of Narita City. Within Narita New Town, the elderly population rate was higher in the old detached-house districts and luxury residential districts, and the residents tended to be white-collar. On the other hand, most of the rented house districts and detached house areas with blue-collar residents showed a lower rate. Therefore, a mixture of housing types and socioeconomic status work efficiently to maintain the sustainability of the town as a whole. In addition to the mixed development, adjacency to Narita Airport with its personnel turnover and support of community helped to maintain a pleasant residential environment in the town, and stimulated inflows of new comers and moves within the town, and thus sustainability was maintained in the town.
Debris avalanche hummocks are created by catastrophic volcanic sector collapses. The paucity of quantitative data on their orientation relative to the debris avalanche direction has caused conflicting views among researchers. We evaluated hummock orientation in the Zenkoji debris avalanche deposits at Usu volcano, Japan. Our results show that hummocks within the upper part of the main depositional area, the axial band leading directly from the source to the central extremity of the debris avalanche deposits, tend to be aligned perpendicular to the presumed flow direction. However, hummock alignment varied systematically along the longitudinal path. Although hummocks close to the source were oriented perpendicular to the flow direction, we noted a gradual transition to a parallel orientation with increasing distance from the source. At the same time, hummocks had arisen on compression-dominated features of the debris avalanche surfaces in the marginal areas. These observations are consistent with the following scenario of the debris avalanche movement. To begin with, the origin is explainable for some large-scale hummocks near the source as below. At the moment of collapse, a small number of normal faults develop perpendicular to the landsliding direction, generating a series of ridges and grabens. Then, the alignment of the other hummocks was given rise to by an extensional regime as the runout distance increased and the lateral constraints on the erosional path near the volcano disappeared. As the longitudinal velocity increased further with respect to lateral velocity, hummocks became more strongly aligned at such distances from the proximal area. On the other hand, more-scattered orientations of hummocks have been observed in the marginal areas. This is probably because they were originated from the sediments pushed out of the main flow instead of being transported by the most direct way from the source.