(also Ou), an economic region in Japan. Situated in the northern part of Honshu Island.
Tohoku includes Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, and Fukushima prefectures. It borders on the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Japan to the west. Area, 66,900 sq km. Population, 9.2 million (1975), 55 percent of which is urban. The largest cities are Sendai, Akita, Hachinohe, Yamagata, Koriyama, Aomori, Fukushima, and Iwaki.
Tohoku is an agrarian region with well-developed forestry and mining industries. Of the economically active population, 41.4 percent is employed in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, and 20.3 percent is employed in industry.
Cultivated land accounts for 15 percent of the region’s area. The main crop is rice, and the harvest of 2.7 million tons is one-fifth of Japan’s total. Other crops include barley, wheat, millet, and potatoes. Products of market gardening include beans and cucumbers; apples are the main fruit crop, with the orchards of Aomori Prefecture producing two-thirds of Japan’s total output. Miyagi and Iwate prefectures are known for sericulture and tobacco farming. Meat and dairy livestock raising is also important; Tohoku accounts for half of Japan’s sheep population. Forests cover 70 percent of the region. The forestry industry includes the production of charcoal. Tohoku is an important center of fishing and related industries, providing 14 percent of Japan’s annual catch. Natural resources include coal (in the Joban River basin), petroleum and natural gas, iron and manganese ores, sulfur, and pyrites. Tohoku produces electric power and supplies part of Tokyo’s needs. An atomic power plant is located near Okuma (450 MW).
Industry in Tohoku concentrates on supplying the Kwanto region. Industrial complexes are located in the Sendai-Shiogama, Hachinohe, Akita, and Joban-Koriyama urban regions. Industry includes food-processing, electric machine building, shipbuilding and ship repair, paper and pulp manufacture, petroleum refining, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, and the manufacture of porcelain and faience. Industrial wood chips are also produced. Construction of an undersea railroad tunnel linking the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido was begun in 1975.
N. A. SMIRNOV