中山間地域における高齢者の生活環境問題 : 東広島市豊栄町を事例として
HUStudGradSchLett_75_61.pdf 1.57 MB
Living Environment Deprivation among Elderly People in Japan’s Hilly and Mountainous Areas : Case Study of Toyosaka Town in Higashihiroshima, Japan
hilly and mountainous areas
The purpose of this paper is to examine empirically living environment deprivation among elderly people in hilly and mountainous areas, focusing on the food desert problem. In Japan’s hilly and mountainous areas, living environment deprivation occurs especially among the elderly because of the rapid progress of population decrease and aging. The research was conducted in Toyosaka town, located in the northernmost area of Higashihiroshima, Japan, primarily by questionnaire survey. Responses were obtained from 101 persons; the response rate was about 50%. A direct interview survey was also adopted for some respondents. Although particular attention has been paid to the food desert problem in Japan recently, it is not so serious in Toyosaka town. The relatively favorable conditions are attributable to self-sufficiency in agricultural products, a high frequency of shopping, and a high dependency on private cars. However, it is expected that transportation and food desert problems will grow worse with the further aging of local residents. Therefore, we need a broad perspective that combines the transportation and food desert problems. Increased use of information technology provides a new opportunity to improve living environment conditions. It is expected that information technology will contribute to reducing problems in the everyday lives of elderly people. Local residents became unhappy with the changes in their living environment after the large-scale merger of municipalities. This discontentment was mainly caused by the peripheralization of Toyosaka town in Higashihiroshima city. The city authority should therefore strengthen local policy targeted at hilly and mountainous areas.