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Geography of Japan

Map of Japan Far East?: Japan, a country of islands, extends along the Eastern and Pacific coast of Asia. The main islands, running from north to south, are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Naha in the Ryukyu archipelago is over 600 kilometers (375 mi) to the southwest of Kyushu.

Japan is the 19th most densely populated country in the world. About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use, due to the generally steep elevations, climate, and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes, soft ground, and heavy rain. This has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones that are mainly located in coastal areas.

Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the juncture of three tectonic plates, gives Japan frequent low-intensity earth tremors and occasional volcanic activity. Destructive earthquake often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times each century. The most recent major quakes include the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake and the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous, and have been developed as resorts.

Japan is home to nine forest eco regions which reflect the climate and geography of the islands. They range from subtropical moist broadleaf forests in the Ryukyu and Bonin islands, to temperate broadleaf and mixed forests in the mild climate regions of the main islands, to temperate coniferous forests in the cold, winter portions of the northern islands.

Statistics: Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula.

Geographic coordinates: 36 00 N, 138 00 E

Area: Total: 377,835 km² Land: 374,744 km² Water: 3,091 km²

Area comparative: slightly smaller than Montana, USA

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 29,751 km

Maritime claims:
* exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles (370 km)
*territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22 km); between 3 and 12 nautical miles (6 and 22 km) in the international straits

Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous

Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish

Land use:
* arable land: 11%
* permanent crops: 1%
* permanent pastures: 2%
* forests and woodland: 67%
* other: 19% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 27,820 km² (1993 est.)

Japan Map 2

1. Hokkaido


2. Aomori
3. Iwate
4. Miyagi
5. Akita
6. Yamagata
7. Fukushima


8. Ibaraki
9. Tochigi
10. Gunma
11. Saitama
12. Chiba
13. Tokyo
14. Kanagawa


15. Niigata
16. Toyama
17. Ishikawa
18. Fukui
19. Yamanashi
20. Nagano
21. Gifu
22. Shizuoka
23. Aichi


24. Mie
25. Shiga
26. Kyoto
27. Osaka
28. Hyogo
29. Nara
30. Wakayama


31. Tottori
32. Shimane
33. Okayama
34. Hiroshima
35. Yamaguchi


36. Tokushima
37. Kagawa
38. Ehime
39. Kochi


40. Fukuoka
41. Saga
42. Nagasaki
43. Kumamoto
44. Oita
45. Miyazaki
46. Kagoshima


47. Okinawa

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