a major economic region of Japan, situated in central Honshu Island. It includes seven prefectures: Ibaraki, To-chigi, and Gumma, which form the northern Kwanto subregion; and Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, and Kanagawa, which form the southern Kwanto subregion. Area, 32, 200 sq km; population, 29.6 million (1970), or more than one-fourth of Japan’s population.
The metropolitan region of Kwanto is the most densely populated region in the country. The bulk of the population lives around Tokyo Bay. Kwanto is also the most urbanized part of Japan: in 1967 almost 73 percent of its population lived in the region’s 77 cities, each of which has a population of more than 50, 000. In 1965 the economically active population was 13 million, of whom 30 percent work in the manufacturing industry, 14.5 percent in agriculture, 13.7 percent in the service industries, 12.2 percent in trade, and 7 percent in construction.
Kwanto holds first place in Japan in industrial output. The manufacturing industry, which accounted for 32.5 percent of the total income in 1965, holds first place in the region’s economy; followed by trade (20 percent), construction (16 percent), and agriculture (5 percent). About a third of the country’s industrial employees live in Kwanto. Heavy industry is by far the most important branch of the manufacturing industry. Kwanto contains a large part of electrical machine building (59 percent of the total Japanese output) and precision machine building (58 percent), as well as oil refining (40 percent), transportation machine building (including shipbuilding), and the food and condiment, metallurgical, chemical, and leather and footwear industries. The most important branches of the food industry are fish-processing, flour milling, and brewing. Other well-developed industries of the region are textiles and clothing (the cities of Hachioji, Kiryu, Ashikaga, and Maebashi), rubber, and porcelain and pottery. Old industries such as silk weaving and spinning, which developed from crafts, are located mainly in the interior part of the region. The enterprises of new industries are located in a narrow band along the Pacific coast and Tokyo Bay.
Electric power is produced mainly by hydroelectric power plants. Steam power plants use imported fuel. Copper is mined at the Ashio deposit (Tochigi Prefecture) and the Hitachi deposit (Ibaraki Prefecture); the annual yield of pyrites is 370, 000–400, 000 tons (Ibaraki, Saitama, and Gumma prefectures). Kwanto imports most of its raw materials and solid and liquid fossil fuel.
Kwanto is an important agricultural region. Field husbandry is the chief branch of agriculture. Irrigated rice fields occupy 512,000 hectares, or 16 percent of Japan’s rice fields, and yield a harvest of about 2 million tons; barley and wheat account for about 62 percent and 50 percent of the total Japanese harvest, respectively. Vegetables are raised. There are many mulberry orchards on the Kwanto Plain and in the western mountain valleys on dry valley lands (Saitama and Gumma prefectures). Kwanto holds first place in Japan in the harvest of cocoons (41,400 tons) and production of raw silk. Horticulture is practiced in Kwanto (tangerines are grown in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures), and its floriculture is famous. The livestock herd consists of 414,000 head of cattle and 1,957,000 pigs (about 30 percent of the country’s herd). Poultry raising is an important activity, and fishing and the maritime industry are well developed. The railroads are electrified, and the region has a dense network of commercial highways. The seaports are Tokyo, Yokohama, and the new and highly mechanized port of Kojima on the Pacific Ocean.
N. A. SMIRNOV
Tokyo Plain, a low-lying plain along the Pacific coast of the island of Honshu (the most extensive plain in Japan).
The Kwanto Plain is a tectonic depression filled with loose marine and fluvial silt and layers of volcanic ash; in the recent geological past part of the plain was submerged under the watersof Tokyo Bay. There are frequent earthquakes in the area, andin 1923 a catastrophic earthquake destroyed the city of Tokyo.A dense network of rivers (the navigable Tone and Sumida) and canals crosses the Kwanto Plain. The climate is wet and temper-ate (to 2, 000 mm of precipitation per year). The plain is beingintensively cultivated. [11–1002-1 ]