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General Information about Japan

Japan is situated in the eastern part of Asia, in the north-western part of Pacific ocean. It consists of 4 main islands- Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and other 3900 smaller islands. Total area is 378 000 km2, total population is 123.68 million people(1990). The 4 main islands occupy 96% of the country`s whole area.

The density of population is extremelly high. Most of the population are Japanese, the main religions are Shinto and Buddhism. There is also a small quantity of Ainu people- about 25 000 people-most of them live in Hokkaido.B

Located in the Pacific ocean, Japan lies between Okhotsk sea, Japan sea, Yellow sea, East China sea. The neighbouring countries are Russia, Korea, North Korea, China. Coast line of Japan is very long, more than 34 000 km, the eastern coast has lots of natural bays, which are very suitable for harbour and port construction. There are a lot of mountains in Japan, they occupy more than 75% of country`s area. Plains occupy only 25% of the area, and are situated mostly in coastal areas and valleys between mountains. 10% of Japan`s mountains are volcanos, other mountains are common ones. The main mountain systems are Ousanyama, Kiso, Akaishi, Echigo, Hida, Hidaka, Kyushu mountains, Shikoku mountains etc. The highest mountain is Fuji, it is one of the symbols of Japan. It has cone shape, total height is 3776 m. Its peaks are covered with snow almost all round the year. Mt Fuji has 8 peaks in all.

Volcanic activity is severe in Japan. More than 270 volcanos are lovated here, 80 of them are active ones. , the most famous one is Mt Fuji, height 3776 m. More than 2000 big earthquakes and volcano eruptions have occured in Japan. All big earthquakes come from the geological layers under Pacific ocean, so the possibility of tsunami is rather high. Every year 1500 earthquakes are fixed in Japan, more that 4 earthquakes per day. Due to volcanic activity, there are more than 2000 hot springs (onsen) in Japan,

With total area of plains only 25%, agricultural lands occupy 12.9%. They are situated mostly along the rivers and ocean coast. The biggest plain is Kanto plain, the most fertile one is Niigata plain, which sometimes is called as granary of the counry.

There are a lot of rivers in Japan, the main of them are Ishikarigawa, Teshiogawa, Tonegawa, Kisogawa, Kitakamigawa and Sinanogawa. Sinanogawa is the longest one- 367 km, Tonegawa has the largest basin- 16840 km2. There more than 600 lakes in Japan, the biggest one is Biwa Lake (672 km2), the deepest one is Tazawa Lake (434.4 m)

Climate of Japan belongs to temperate zone, generally its rather warm and humid, in summer rainfall is high at the eastern coast, in winter snawfall is high at Japan sea coast. Typhoons often occur in summer and autumn. Annual rainfall is 1700-1800 mm. Due to geographical reasons, there is dinstinct differ between climate in the north and in the south.Hokkaido and the north of Honshu has sub-arctic climate, central part of honshu- moderate climate, Kushu, Shikoku and Okinawa- subtropical climate. Besides, there is dinstinvct difference between east and west. Typhoons in summer and autumn are often dangerous and destructive. Due to climate and geographic reasons, all rivers in Japan are short, with rapid flow and lots of waterfalls. Japan has rich flora and fauna, which differs from one climate zone to another, forest cover is close to 70%.

Japan is poor in mineral resources. Most of raw materials and fuel, nessesary for industry, are imported from abroad. More than 84% of minearl resources are imported. Share of import is 100% for aluminium, nickel, phosphor, copperas; 99.7% for oil, 94.5% for natural gaz, 99,6% for iron ore, 85,1% for coal, 84,9% for lead, 66,9% for zink. Japan is number one mineral resources importer in the world.

Japan has rich forest resources. Forest cover in 1987 was 252 600 km2, that means 66.8% of the country`s area. is covered witt forests. It is one of the highest rates in the world. Wood resources are estimated as 2.7 billion m3. Most of the forests consist of conifers. Cherry blossom is a symbol of Japan.

Japan has lots of various seafood resources, this branch of industry is higly developed. Territorial waters of Japan are rich in fish, there are more than 700 species. The main of them are sardine, cod, mackerel, salmon etc.


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