Why are the Japanese islands so mountainous??

September 25 [Sat], 2010, 23:07
Japanese islands are mountainous because they rest on a part of the Earth that is extremely volcanically active. Occasionally, this activity expresses itself as severe earthquakes like the Kobe earthquake (officially named 阪神淡路大震災, the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake), which killed more than 6000 people early in the morning of January 17, 1995.

With volcanoes often comes the pushing up of the earth, and over time, the formation of mountains. In Japan, the highest mountain is 富士山, Mt. Fuji at 3776 meters. Mt. Fuji is commonly seen to symbolize Japan because it is revered throughout the country for its beautiful and majestic volcano shape.

The mountains of Japan, however, are not always considered an advantage to the people who live with them. The first problem is that finding sufficient land flat enough to cultivate is not easy. The largest plane is 関東平野, Kanto Heiya, which surrounds Tokyo with an area that is nearly the size of Greater Los Angeles. The second problem is constructing infrastructure, a significant challenge when one considers the difficulties of accessing and building on sloped terrain. And because of the terrain and the limitations it places on how the land can be used, real estate value, particularly in urban areas, is expensive compared with other countries, giving Japan its reputation for being one of the most expensive places in the world to live.

Also, given Japan's size and mountains, natural resources are hard to come by, and what resources are available do not meet the needs of the country's large population. Only limited amounts of col and a few metals are found on the islands, while almost all oil products have to be imported.

As one can imagine, these drawbacks have considerable influence over Japan's national strategy. But to overcome them, the country has evolved toward buying natural resources and agricultural products to convert into commercial goods for export. Many are aware of this flipside to the disadvantages, as a great number of industrial achievements have been made to overcome them, making Japan one of the world's major industrialized nations.

As a side note, one direct advantage of Japan being a mountainous island are the abundant pleasures and beauty in its nature.
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