Hokkaido is located in the northern part of the Japanese Archipelago, which extends north and south. Its area accounts for 22.1% of the nation’s total land area. It is the largest prefecture in Japan, 39.7 times the size of Tokyo and equivalent to the area of Austria (83,859 km2). With almost equal areas of mountains and of plains, Hokkaido is less mountainous and hilly and has more flatlands compared with the rest of Japan.
Hokkaido has a population of 5,683,062 (according to the October 1, 2000 census), which amounts to 4.5% of the total population of Japan. It has the seventh largest population after Tokyo (12,060,000), Osaka (8,810,000), Kanagawa (8,490,000), Aichi (7,040,000), Saitama (6,940,000) and Chiba (5,930,000).
The population density is 72.5 people/km2, which is one-fifth the national average (
340.4 people/ km2) and the lowest of all prefectures.
The gross domestic product of Hokkaido, which indicates the scale of production activity in the prefecture, is¥20,819.0 billion (FY2001), 4% of the nation’s total.
Regarding composition by industry, 3.3% (1.4% of the entire nation in calendar year 2001) of gross production is in primary industries, 21.0% (27.7% of the entire nation in calendar year 2001) in secondary industries and 77.5% (74.8% of the entire nation in calendar year 2001) in tertiary industries. The percentages of primary and tertiary industries are higher and that of secondary industries is lower than the national total. The high percentage of 11.2% of the construction industry (7.0% for the entire nation), and extremely low percentage of 9.6% of the manufacturing industry, which is below half of that for the entire nation (20.5% for the entire nation), are characteristic of Hokkaido.
In the manufacturing industry, the proportion of food, pulp/paper, and ceramics, stone and clay products is greater and that of processing and assembly-type industries, such as ordinary and electric machinery, is smaller compared with the national total.
[Agriculture, forestry and fisheries]
Despite its severe natural conditions of cold weather and a long period of snowfall, Hokkaido has established northern-style agriculture consisting mainly of rice cultivation, dry-field farming, dairy farming and beef cattle breeding, through the introduction of modern agricultural technologies from the West and the improvement of production bases.
Hokkaido has an arable land area of approximately 970,000 hectares, which is nearly one-fourth of the nation’s total. It plays an important role as the largest food-supply base in Japan, and ranks first in the nation for its production of wheat, soybeans, potatoes, beets and other field crops, onions, pumpkins, corn and other vegetables, raw milk, beef and a number of other farm products.
Hokkaido’s forest area is 5.58 million hectares, which is 71% of the prefecture’s total land area and 22% of the nation’s total forest area. While 66% of forests are natural forests, 27% are artificial forests. The growing stock of forest has reached 640.36 million m2.
Hokkaido is surrounded by three seas – the Pacific Ocean, Sea of Okhotsk and Sea of Japan – and has a coastline of 3,043 km, which accounts for 9.1% of the nation’s total. There are excellent fishing grounds offshore, including the continental shelf that stretches far to the north.
The marine fishery and aquaculture production in 2001 was 1.58 million tons, 26.3% of the nation’s total (6.01 million tons), and the turnout was \287.2 billion, 17.2 % of the nation’s total (\1,668.0 billion), both of which ranked first in the nation.
Hokkaido's Economic Position within Japan
* including the northern teritories.
|1. Area / Population|
|Population density （*）||Person/
|2. Economic Structure|
|Per-capita income of Hokkaido (Nation)||1,000yen||2,856||3,101||-||FY2001|
|Hokkaido's (National) Gross Product||100 mil.yen||208,190||5,074,554||4.1|
|Gross Product by Economic Activity (nominal terms)|
|Item||Hokkaido (FY 2001)||Nation (2001 calendar year)|
|Value (1 mil.yen) (A)||Ratio(%)||Value (100 mil.yen) (B)||Ratio(%)|
|1. Primary Industries||692,917||3.3||69,730||1.4|
|2. Secondary Industries||4,367,037||21.0||1,406,557||27.7|
|3. Tertiary Industries||16,141,010||77.5||3,794,011||74.8|
|(7) Wholesale and retail trade||2,886,670||13.9||705,246||13.9|
|(8) Finance and insurance||1,054,397||5.1||336,369||6.6|
|(9) Real estate||2,246,426||10.8||673,838||13.3|
|10) Transport and communications||1,668,448||8.0||321,615||6.3|
|(11) Electricity, gas and water||484,892||2.3||144,948||2.9|
|(13) Public services||2,963,496||14.2||471,222||9.3|
|(14) Private non-profit services to households||382,397||1.8||93,575||1.8|
|4. Import duties||51,769||0.2||195,744||3.9|
|5. Other (less)||127,802||0.6|
|6. Imputed service charges (less)||305,892||1.5|
|Hokkaido (National) Gross Product
(Indicated by producer prices)
Sources: Economic calculation of the citizens of Hokkaido (Department of Comprehensive Planning) and national accounting (Cabinet Office)
|Trade and Economic Exchange Group, Commerce and Economic Exchange Division, Department of Economic Affairs, Hokkaido Government|