|Location/Geography & Transportation
Location of Japan
Japan is a country of islands situated east of the Asian continent. The Japanese archipelago -the four main islands of Hokkaido,Honshu,Shikoku and Kyushu,plus about 3,900 smaller islands -forms an arch that stretches 3,000 kilometers(1,860 miles)from north to south.
Location of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan
Fukushima Prefecture lies between 139 and 141 degrees east longitude and 37 to 38 degrees north latitude - the same latitude as southern Greece and San Francisco,California in the United States. The prefecture is located in the southern part of Japan's Tohoku region,on the main island of Honshu. It faces the Pacific Ocean to the east and shares borders with six other prefectures.
Fukushima also lies within 200 kilometers of Japan's capital of Tokyo. Of all the prefectures in the Tohoku region,it is closest to the capital,linking Tokyo with Tohoku.
Fukushima Prefecture was established in 1876,through the amalgamation of three earlier prefectures. At present,it is composed of 10 main cities,including Fukushima City(the capita),Koriyama,Iwaki and Aizu-Wakamatsu,as well as 80 townships and villages.
Covering an area of 13,781 square kilo-meters,Fukushima Prefecture stretches 166 kilometers from east to west and 133 kilometers from north to south; this expanse makes it Japan's third largest prefecture. With a shape that resembles the country of Australia,the prefecture is divided from east to west into the three regions of Hama-dori (coastal region),Naka-dori (inland region) and Aizu by the Ou and Abukuma mountain ranges,which run from north to south. Each of the three areas possess a distinct climate, economy and culture.
The Japan Railway Tohoku Shinkansen(super-express train) puts the major cities of Fukushima,Koriyama and Shirakawa within 60 to 90 minutes of Tokyo. Shirakawa,located in the southern part of the prefecture and closest to Tokyo,is home to many workers who commute to the nation's capital. More and more people who work in Tokyo live in Shirakawa.
Running north and south,parallel to the Tohoku Shinkansen,is the Tohoku Expressway, another major highway which runs east to west, is currently under construction. It crosses the Tohoku Expressway at Koriyama and links the city of Iwaki,which faces the Pacific Ocean, with Niigata City in Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan. When completed,the Ban'etsu Expressway is expected to revitalize the prefecture's industrial base and bring invigorating change to the people of Fukushima.
Among the port cities important to both Fukushima Prefecture and Japan are Soma and Onahama. The upgrading of these cities as international trade port is rapidly proceeding.
Fukushima Airport, located about 20 kilometers south of Koriyama, promises to expand the prefecture's relations with the Japanese cities of Sapporo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Okinawa as well as with several foreign countries.
To complement the development of the rapid transportation network,the construction of prefectural roads and bypasses for national highways is under way. The result will be a dynamic,new "life zone" comprising the distinctive areas of Fukushima Prefecture.