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JAPAN AND THE KOREAN PENINSULA

What are the four main islands that make up Japan?

The northernmost island, Hokkaido, is home to the city of Sapporo. The largest island, Honshu, is the Japanese core area that includes Tokyo and Osaka-Kyoto. The Japanese island of Honshu is the world's seventh largest island in the world, as well as the second most populous island in the world with 103 million people; it is the "mainland" island of Japan. Honshu covers 86,246 square miles (223,656 square kilometers), which makes it larger than the island of Great Britain. In the south are the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu. Kyushu is the southernmost island and was the first island where foreign traders were allowed into Japan. It has a population of over 13 million. Besides the four main islands, Japan includes 2,000 smaller islands. Japan's population is 128 million people and is declining at a rate of 0.02 percent per year.

What is the world's most visited mountain?

Japan's Mt. Fuji, a sacred and important volcano to the Japanese, is the country's most popular tourist spot and the world's most visited mountain. Mt. Fuji, which is shaped almost like a perfect cone, rises to 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) and last erupted in 1708.

Where is the land of the rising sun?

The Japanese name for Japan, Nippon, which means "origin of the sun," evolved into "land of the rising sun." The name probably derived from the fact that for

Japan's picturesque Mt. Fuji, near Tokyo (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

Japan's picturesque Mt. Fuji, near Tokyo (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

How have the Kurile Islands kept World War II from ending?

Before World War II, Japan owned this chain of four islands located between Russia (south of the Kamchatka Peninsula) and Japan (north of Hokkaido). During the war, the then-Soviet Union took control of the islands and hasn't given them back. Japan has been requesting their return, but to no avail. Because of the Kurile Island controversy, Japan has yet to sign a peace treaty with Russia declaring the end of World War II.

centuries, Japan was the easternmost known land, and thus where the sun seemed to rise.

How geologically active is Japan?

Both volcanoes and earthquakes threaten Japan. Japan has 19 active volcanoes, several of which have erupted in the last decade. Earthquakes are also frequent occurrences, with many very destructive quakes in the last century. In 1923 a major earthquake (approximately 8.3 on the Richter scale) struck Yokohama and killed over 140,000 people. More recently, in 1995, an earthquake in Kobe killed 5,500 people.

How does Japan get its oil?

Having no oil itself, Japan must import all the oil it needs. To accommodate the amount of oil necessary, there is a constant stream of oil tankers—spaced approximately 300 miles (483 kilometers) apart—that bring oil to Japan 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Behind only the United States and China, Japan is the third biggest importer of oil with more than 5.5 million barrels brought in every day.

What is the life expectancy in Japan?

Japan's life expectancy is now the third highest in the world, behind Andorra and Macau. People in Japan live, on average, upwards of 83 years.

Where is Iwo Jima?

Iwo Jima, one of the three islands that make up the Volcano Islands, is located southeast of Japan. One of the deadliest battles of World War II was fought on Iwo Jima, with approximately 20,000 Japanese and 6,000 American soldiers killed. The Japanese air base on Iwo Jima was captured by the United States on February 23, 1945. The island was returned to Japan in 1968.

How old is the Korean civilization?

The Korean civilization is more than 4,000 years old, with archaeological evidence dating back to 2333 b.c.e.

 
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