In this paper, we analyze the current situation of international marriage in the Tokai region, which is one of Japan’s most industrialized regions and has a higher rate of international marriage than the national average. We used Vital Statistics of Japan for the region’s prefectures (Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, and Mie Prefectures) and data from our mailed questionnaire for municipalities to examine the factors of international marriage related to geographical background. These investigations were carried out through correlation and regression analyses at the prefecture, daily-life area, and municipality levels. Consequently, three key findings emerged. First, the Tokai prefectures have different characteristics of spouse nationality in international marriages than those of Japan as a whole. Second, the municipalities with a high international marriage rate are located in underpopulated areas in mountainous and peninsular regions as well as in the highly industrialized areas, especially large cities. Third, the correlation and regression analyses of all 47 prefectures in Japan clarify that the disparities in the sex ratio of unmarried persons, the characteristics of an area’s industrialization, and the foreign population are geographical background factors determining the incidence of international marriages. However, as the geographical scale of the analysis became smaller, almost no meaningful geographical background factor could be identified at either the daily-life area or municipal level in the Tokai region.
The aim of this study is to prove the existence of cultural diversity in human spatial cognition between Japanese and Americans by conducting a cross-cultural wayfinding experiment. Twenty Japanese and 19 US university students were instructed to walk through a route on campus twice using either a map or a written direction and were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the materials used on a 7 grade scale after each trial. They were also asked to compare the usability of the two materials after completing the trials. Their errors and time-performance were also measured. The results derived from an application of a quantitative analysis revealed the existence of cultural differences in the relative evaluation task, although the actual performances did not show a significant difference. Furthermore, their absolute evaluation scores of the first trials obtained from the language-first group indicated that Americans gave written directions considerably higher ratings than Japanese, whereas the second trials of the map-first group disclosed that Japanese rate the same material considerably lower than Americans. The results demonstrated that participants felt discomfort with the less familiar medium even when the wayfinding task was easy enough to follow. Such uneasiness may stem from the cultural schema of spatial descriptions to which they have been familiar. When the description style of provided material was not archetypal from the viewpoint of their shared cultural schema of geographic description, people tended to feel larger discomfort because of the mismatch.
Based on experience during the Great East Japan Earthquake, this article examines the efficiency and high-security requirements of Japan’s pharmaceutical supply chain and its response pattern in an emergency. Ensuring supply chain security requires an enormous amount of investment, sacrifices, and improvement in efficiency. The practical measures being implemented need to maintain a strict balance between supply chain security and efficiency. To assess the supply chain security needs of the pharmaceuticals, interviews were conducted with Japan’s pharmaceutical supply chain players. Although faced with some difficulties, the supply chain functioned effectively during the sudden change in demand following the 2011 quake. The distribution centers are located mainly in the three major metropolitan areas unevenly, but dispersing inventories are maintained at all the branch offices outside the area of specific lead time. However, this article has found that the changes in the pharmaceutical supply chain could lead to a low level of security. The national or local governments might be required to provide public assistance for the management. Additional measures might be needed if differences between municipalities in the extent of the measures result in substantial regional disparities in access to pharmaceuticals. Users and suppliers need to continue risk communication about how much money they should invest in secure supply chain. Geographical studies are required to contribute to the spatial arrangement of the pharmaceutical supply chain that considers both moderation of the medical insurance system’s finances and the supply chain’s function as a social infrastructure.