- 国際文化論集 = INTERCULTURAL STUDIES (ISSN:09170219)
- no.39, pp.19-55, 2009-03-10
As a result of observing data from approximately 70 papers written by Japanese geographers from 2002 to 2007 concerning transportation and physical distribution, various themes in geography studies and research trends became apparent: 1. transport between metropolitan areas; 2. inter-regional transport; 3. social transportation geography research; 4. historical geography research relating to modern transportation; 5. geographical research on warehouses; 6. informatization of distribution systems; 7. physical distribution systems by management type; 8. freight flows and international physical distribution; 9. the system of "Just-in-Time"; 10. physical distribution and geographic information systems; 11. geographical studies related to logistics. However, global trends in transportation and physical distribution have brought moves toward deregulation and privatization. Soon, it may be necessary for Japanese transport geography research to critically inspect policies instead of affirming the current situation concerning the spatial effect of deregulation or privatization on the transportation network or on regional society. Concerning the serious accessibility or mobility gap between metropolitan areas and surrounding less densely populated areas, research should be done from the standpoints of social fairness and equality, the merits and demerits of transportation changes promoted by scrap and build or creative destruction, and the abuse of motorization. Physical distribution research has also seen great change. Influenced by the information age and the marketing revolution, research on the logistics systems of businesses centered on chain-stores has become more popular. As for transportation system research, the trend is away from the specialized large volume transportation of the period of high economic growth to Just-in-Time delivery, as well as the transformation of the industrial structure due to the oilshock. The latest trend is represented by a series of research studies by Aoyama, an advocate of a new economic geography based on logistics, a broader concept than the unified system of production, distribution and consumption. Another new theme of economic geography research in the logistics industry is an interest in information systems, electronic commerce and cyber space of physical distribution or marketing trade and consumption. Our conclusion is that there is a growing methodological gap between transport geography (passenger transport research) and physical distribution research (freight transport research and logistic systems research).