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Japan And Thailand Essay, Research Paper

Thailand and Japan are two countries situated in the Australian, Asian and

Pacific (A.A.P) region. There are many similarities and differences in their

physical and human geographies. Japan is an archipelago of 3900 mountainous

islands with a total land size of 377 835km2. Located in East Asia along the

‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ Japan ranges from North 50 30I to 210 and East 970 3I to

1030 3I. In contrast, Thailand is a larger country with a total landmass of 511

770km2. It is located in South East Asia on the Indo-China and Malayan

peninsula. Thailand?s landmass ranges from 70 5I to 200 5I North and 970 to

105o 41 East. Thailand has a tropical climate that experiences monsoonal

influences, whereas Japan has a diverse climate, ranging from sub-tropical in

the south to alpine conditions on the elevated peaks. Japan has an aging

population, which is twice the size of Thailand’s. 90% of Japan?s 126 million

people live on only 20% of its dry land. Dissimilarly, Thailand?s population

is more evenly spread with a distribution of 117 persons per km2. Japan is a

More Developed country (M.D.C) with a GNP per capita of US$34 500, which makes

it Asia most affluent country. Japan Economy relies on services and high

technology industries. Thailand is a Less-Developed country (L.D.C) with a GNP

per capita of US$8 800. Thailand?s population relies more on a subsistence way

of life. In fact 75% of its inhabitants making their living from farming. Japan

is an island archipelago with over 3900 islands. The four main islands, Honshu,

Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku stretch for over 3 800 kilometres. The country

situated on the edge of large tectonic plates which are constantly moving

providing an unpredictable countryside. The Pacific Ocean, Sea of Japan, Korea

Strait and the East China Sea surround the Japanese archipelago. Unlike Japan,

Thailand is not a group of islands, it is however a larger country with a land

area of 511 770km2. Thailand’s extends 2500km from North 50 30I to 210 and

1250km from East 970 3I to 1030 3I. The most southern land extends down the

Malayan peninsula and borders with Malaysia. The country also borders with

Burma, Laos and Cambodia as well as the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand.

Similarly, both Japan and Thailand have elevated landscapes. Japan physical

geography is described as rugged and mountainous. Over 80% of the land is at an

elevated level and there are 532 mountains over 2000 metres. The mountain ranges

extend across the islands from north to south. The main ranges are located

throughout the central areas of the four main islands. The highest mountain is

on Honshu, Mt Fuji is 3776m above sea level, other large mountains are Mt Kita,

3192m, Mt Hotaka 3190m and Mt Asahi 2290m. The lowest point is Hachiro-gata and

-4m below sea level. Thailand is described as a hilly country with some

mountains located in the North and South. The highest mountain is Inthanon

Mountain at 2595m; other substantial mountains are Luang Chiang Dao at 2182 and

Mt Mokochu at 1964m. There are many volcano located on the Japanese islands, of

which 60 are still active. There are over 1500 earthquakes reported each year,

most cause little or no damage but some can be disastrous. In contrast, there

are no active volcanoes in Thailand and only minor earthquakes occur. Japan

experiences seismic activity such as volcanoes and earthquakes because it is

located on the edge of large tectonic plates which are regularly moving. These

plates are what cause Japan to have such an elevated landform. Thailand only

experiences earthquakes because it is located on an area of folding and not the

edge of tectonic plates. Edges of the tectonic plates run throughout Asia and

have become known as ‘the Pacific Ring of Fire’. Compared to Japan, Thailand has

very few forest and trees. Substantial amounts of land have been cleared for

agricultural purposes. Only 25% of the land has been left with coverings of

forests and woodlands. Japan has 68% of land surfaced with forests and

woodlands. 34% of Thailand’s landmass is considered arable, which enables it to

be cultivated. In contrast, only 11% of Japanese land in considered arable. This

is because of the steep rugged land that is throughout Japan. Only 1% of Japan’s

landmass has permanent crops being cultivated, whereas 6% of Thailand land has

permanent crops. Similar, Japan and Thailand both have 2 per-cent of their land

covered with permanent crops. Japan and Thailand are heavily reliant on the

production of rice and because of this the land must be saturated with water. In

Thailand 44 000 km2 of land is irrigated, on the other hand, only 27 820km2 of

Japanese land is also irrigated. Although this is a smaller amount, it is quite

considerable because of Japan’s restricted land area. Japan has a wide variety

of minerals most of which are in quantities too small to provide for all of

Japans industry needs. Because of this many of Japan’s industries must import

many minerals and raw materials, such as iron ore, bauxite and petroleum form

other countries. On the other hand, Thailand does not need to import large

amounts of minerals and raw materials. There are large supplies of tin, iron

ore, manganese, rubber, bauxite, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead,

gypsum, lignite and fluorite. Both countries have many large rivers systems but

they are vastly different. Thailand?s rivers are deep, wide and slow moving;

the rivers are like this because Thailand is a relatively flat country. The

rivers enable many industries, such as the timber industry, to use the rivers to

transport logs down stream for milling. While on the contrary, Japanese rivers

are far too shallow, narrow and fast-flowing to be used for any purpose expect

for hydro-electricity schemes. Rivers play an important role in Thai life. Many

markets and sales take place in small boats along the river systems.

Thailand?s major rivers are the Chao Phraya, Mekong, Chi and Mun. Japans major

rivers are the Shinano, Ishikari and Tenryu. Likewise both Japan and Thailand

have many lakes scattered though-out the countries. Many lakes in Japan have

been formed in the craters of ‘extinct’ volcanoes. Thailand and Japan have

opposing climates. Thailand?s climate is categorised as tropical unlike

Japans, which is classed as a temperate climate. Japan climate alters with its

latitudinal range and elevation. The southern islands, Kyushu and Shikoku are

classed as sub-tropical with long, hot summers and mild winters. Hokkaido and

the northern reaches of Honshu have more of a temperate climate with short

summers and severe long winters. Thailand’s climate does not indicate such

variation, although the Northern Mountains are cooler during the winter. Three

seasons can be recognised in Thailand. A rainy season takes place from June to

October, a cool season from November to February and a hot season from March to

May. Similarly both countries climates are influenced by monsoons. Thailand’s

climate is influenced by a Southwest monsoon, which brings rain from June to

October. However, Japan is influenced by a southeastern monsoon, which also

delivers rain from June to October. The amount of rain Japan receives also

alters with latitudinal range and elevation. Hokkaido receives an average annual

rainfall of 1015 mm and the mountains of Honshu receive an average of 3810mm

yearly. In contrast Thailand’s rainfall does not differentiate on a regional

basis. Bangkok, in central Thailand receives an average rainfall of 1400mm each

year and the southern peninsula is subject to an annual precipitation of 2500mm.

A significant distinction between the two countries is the fact that Japan

receives annual snowfalls whereas Thailand experiences predominantly hot and

humid conditions.

32c


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