e, and tsunami in 2011 caused massive economic dislocations and a serious nuclear power disaster.
The mountainous Japanese archipelagostretches northeast to southwest 3,000 km off the east of the Asian continent at the convergence of four tectonic plates; it has about forty active volcanoes and experiences about 1,000 earthquakes a year. The steep, craggy mountains that cover two-thirds of its surface are prone to quick erosion from fast-flowing rivers and to mudslides. They have hampered internal travel and communication and driven the population to rely on transportation along coastal waters. There is a great variety to its regions’ geographical features and weather patterns, with a Wet season, in most parts in early summer. Volcanic soil that washes along the 13% of the area that makes up the coastal plains provides fertile land, and the mainly temperate climate allows long growing seasons, which with the diversity of flora and fauna provide rich resources able to support the density of the population.