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The Japanese archipelago (日本列島, Nihon rettō) is a group of 6,853 islands that form the country of Japan as well as the Russian island of Sakhalin. It extends over 3,000 km (1,900 mi)[1] from the Sea of Okhotsk southwest to the Philippine Sea south along the northeastern coast of the Eurasia continent. It consists of islands from the Sakhalin Island Arc, the Northeastern Japan Arc to the Ryukyu Islands and the Nanpō Islands. Japan is the largest island country in East Asia and the fourth-largest island country in the world with 377,975.24 km2 (145,937.06 sq mi).[2][3] It has the eighth-largest exclusive economic zone of 4,470,000 km2 (1,730,000 sq mi).[4]

Terminology

The term mainland Japan is used to refer to the mainland from the remote islands. It is also used when referring to the main islands Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa.[5] It included Karafuto Prefecture (Sakhalin) until the end of World War II.

The term Home Islands was used at the end of World War II to define the area of Japan to which its sovereignty and the constitutional rule of the Emperor would be restricted.[citation needed] The term is also commonly used today to distinguish the archipelago from Japan's colonies and other territories in the first half of the 20th century.[6]

Palaeogeography

Geography

The archipelago consists of 6,852 islands[7] (here defined as land more than 100 m in circumference), of which 430 are inhabited.[8] The six main islands, from north to south, are Sakhalin (part of the Russian Federation), Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa.[5] Honshu is the largest and referred to as the Japanese mainland.[9]

The current Japanese archipelago topography is:

Japanese archipelago with outlined islands
The Nanpō Islands administered by Tokyo Metropolis.
mainland Japan is used to refer to the mainland from the remote islands. It is also used when referring to the main islands Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa.[5] It included Karafuto Prefecture (Sakhalin) until the end of World War II.

The term Home Islands was used at the end of World War II to define the area of Japan to which its sovereignty and the constitutional rule of the Emperor would be restricted.[citation needed] The term is also commonly used today to distinguish the archipelago from Japan's colonies and other territories in the first half of the 20th century.[6]

Palaeogeography

  Vegetated land
  Unvegetated land
Middle Pliocene to Late Pliocene (3.5-2 Ma)

  • Japanese archipelago at the [7] (here defined as land more than 100 m in circumference), of which 430 are inhabited.[8] The six main islands, from north to south, are Sakhalin (part of the Russian Federation), Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa.[5] Honshu is the largest and referred to as the Japanese mainland.[9]

    The current Japanese archipelago topography is:

    Japanese archipelago with outlined islands