Japan And Thailand 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. Thailands 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 Japans 126 million people live on only 20% of its dry land.
Dissimilarly, Thailands 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. Thailands 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. Thailands 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.
Thailands 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. Thailands 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.