Masashi Hom-ma, Kiyoshi Horikawa


Japan consists of 4 main islands named Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, which, together with numerous smaller islands scattered around, are so aligned as to form a slightly bent arc off the eastern fringe of the Asiatic Continent. (See Fig. 1.) The dominant geographies of these islands are represented by relatively high mountains located in the center and narrow strips of plane lands lying along the coastlines. It is in these coastal planes that the cores of the Japanese industrial and other economical activities are deployed with swarming population. The entire area of Japan is approximately 320,000 km2 and the surrounding coastlines are 14,560 km long. Traditionally the economy of Japan depended heavily on agriculture and fishery, which necessitated active reclamation works around the estuarine lowlands as well as establishment of small fishery ports in great numbers at various parts of Japan. The growth of her economical potency came to cast floodlight on the importance of marine transportation, and the commercial ports came to thrive at numerous estuary harbors. The land extension works along the coast line are even flourishing today, but they are aimed at creating the sites for modern industries. It should be emphasized that Japan has been utilizing the coastal areas to an utmost extent for survival as well as prosperity, and further that this trend is destined to persist also in the future in order to keep pace with her economical development.


shore protection; Japan; natural disasters

Full Text: