This paper aims to examine the current situation in Japan’s largest cities and describe the Japanese urban systems, by analyzing the distribution of the management function （head offices and branch offices） of the country’s largest private firms. This study is based on data for 2,442 private firms. The status of cities under study is compared from various standpoints. An attempt is made to throw light on the interconnections between cities. Finally, two models of urban systems of major cities are proposed. Twenty-six cities were chosen for study. Clearly, the largest number （1,072） of head offices is found in Tokyo. This is followed by Osaka, where head offices of 309 firms are located. However, it should be noted that in recent years, more and more firms have adopted the system of multiple head offices. Including such firms, the number of private firms having their head offices in Tokyo is 1,189, which represents 49.8% of the total. Tokyo houses the largest number of branch offices, as well. As for head offices, the city with the second largest number of branch offices is Osaka. After Tokyo and Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sendai, Hiroshima, Sapporo are the cities with most branch offices. The author analyzed the type of industry of branch offices, the hierarchical relationships of branch offices, city territories covered by branch offices, head office and branch office size and interurban connectivity. The author proposes a model for the urban systems based on the findings of preceding analyses. These models clearly show the complex networks of interconnections established between major Japanese cities.
While numerous researchers have paid attention to the problems of childcare support in metropolitan areas, little is known about the condition of local cities. In addition, previous studies in this field have focused on the demand side of childcare centers. The aim of this study is to clarify the regional characteristics and problems of childcare support in Kahoku City, considering the supply and demand sides of the services. The author administered a questionnaire survey to 80 mothers who use the childcare support center and conducted interviews with seven mothers and seven staffs of the childcare support center in Kahoku City. Analysis of this data revealed that the majority of users were fulltime housewives who intended to prevent from social isolation, make friends, and relieve their stress. Particularly, since fulltime housewives are minorities in Kahoku City, where dual earner couples are common, they use the childcare support center as a place to communicate with others in order to avoid solitude and receive peer support. Many users visit several childcare support centers, including those out of the city. This can be due to not only the narrow area of the city but also a high car ownership rate. As a result, users tend to choose a childcare support center according to their preference in the staff’s operation policy and the facility’s atmosphere. Contrastingly, interviews with the staff of childcare support centers revealed that many of them were perplexed with how to care for not only children but also their mothers. Hence, staffs require a high degree of specialization, different from that of nursery school teachers.
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