an economic region in Japan, on the island of Honshu. The region comprises the prefectures of Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui. It has an area of 25,200 sq km, including the island of Sado. As of 1975, the population was 5.3 million.
Hokuriku has a diverse, highly developed agriculture, which is concentrated primarily on the coastal plains of Echigo, Toyama, and Kaga. The region is one of Japan’s most important rice-growing areas, with 317,000 hectares planted to the crop. Hokuriku produces 1.4 million tons of rice annually—that is, approximately 13 percent of the total Japanese harvest. Also cultivated are vegetables, including broad beans, and industrial crops, such as rape in Fukui Prefecture and tobacco in Ishikawa Prefecture. Fruit trees, including persimmons, are grown, and flowers are raised. There is fishing off the coast. Logging is another of the region’s economic activities.
A small amount of oil is produced in Hokuriku Economic Region, the center of production being the city of Kashiwazaki. Some natural gas comes from Niigata Prefecture. Deposits of gold and silver are found in Sado, and deposits of lead and zinc, in Niigata Prefecture. A total of 13.8 billion kilowatt hours of electric power is generated in the region; approximately half of the total is supplied by hydroelectric power plants. Nuclear power plants have been constructed near the cities of Tsuruga and Mihama. Industry includes machine building and the manufacture of textiles (40 percent of the country’s silk and rayon), chemical products, petrochemical products, ferroalloys, aluminum, ceramic ware, glassware, and medicines. The region has two industrial zones—Niigata-Nagaoka-Naoetsu in the north, on Echigo Plain, and Takaoka-Toyama-Uozu on the coast of Toyama Bay.
N. A. SMIRNOV