Social and Environmental Data Base
Social Data Environmental Data
Introduction of the Sub-Committee of Environment, the Association of North East Asia Regional Governments
Outline of the Association of North East Asia Regional Governments and the Sub-Committee of Environment
Outline of holding the Fifth Sub-Committee of Environment, the Association of North East Asia Regional Governments
Individual Projects in the Sub-Committee of Environment
The Northwest Pacific Region generally refers to the area which shares the Sea of Japan as a common inland sea. Countries included within the region consist of Japan, China, Korea, Russia and North Korea. However, there are various opinions with regard to its specific geographical scope and no boundaries have been officially defined thus far. Therefore, this report defines the Northwest Pacific Region as the area which covers the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and their surrounding areas. These are the target areas of the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center, keeping in mind the geographical scope of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan(NOWPAP), which was proposed by UNEP as part of the “Regional Sea Programme”, with the objective of protecting the environment of the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.

The Northwest Pacific Region consists of countries that have different economic structures, living standards, deposits of natural resources, political systems and historical and cultural backgrounds. Thus the region is also characterized by a diverse range of nationalities and cultures.
Population in Northwest Pacific Region
(Year 2000)
Country / Region Population
(ten thousand)
Population density
(per km2)
Japan 12,693 340.4
Northwest Pacific Region 3,371 192.6
China 126,583
Northwest Pacific Region 47,256 299.7
Korea 4,728 475.4
Russia 14,669 8.6
Far East 725 1.2
Northwest Pacific Region 434 4.2
Note : The numbers of Russia are ones in 1999.
The population of the Northwest Pacific Region is 560million and about 85 per cent of them are living in China. The population of Japan and Korea is 34 million and 47 million respectively. But that of Russia is only 4.3 million. There is a big inequality depending on the regions.
As for the population density, Japan, China and Korea have hundreds/km. On the other hand, Russia has only 4.2/km, extremely small numbers.
China and Russia are multinational countries which are consisted of several races. There are 56 races in China and more than hundred races in Russia.
Outline of Northwest Pacific Region
Country Races Languages Religions Political system
Japan Japanese 99.2%,
Korean 0.6%,
Others 0.2%
Japanese Shintoism 39.5%,Buddhism 38.3%,Christianity 3.8%,Other 18.4% Constitutional monarchy of plural parties under Two chamber system
China Chinese 92%,
Others in 55 races
Chinese Authorized five religions
Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholic(Roman Catholicism), Protestantism(Christianity)
Republic of Socialism state
Korea Tungus Chinese
Korean 40% of people are religious. 50% of them are Buddhist, 45% are Christian and Confucianist is less than 2%. Republican form of Constitutional monarchy
(Far East)
Russian 77.4%, Ukrainian 7.8%, Yakuts 4.6%, Other White Russian, Tartar, Northern races, Korean, Jews, etc Russian 85.5%, Others are Tungus / Manchu (Whole Russia)
Russian Orthodox Church 88%
Republican form of Federal Union
Economic level and Living standards
While the market economies in Japan and Korea have been developing well, that in Primorsky kray of Russia has not proceeded smoothly yet. There is a big gap between each country’s economic levels.
As for GDP(Gross Domestic Product) by purchasing power par per person, assuming that Japan is 100, Korea will have 56 which are almost half of Japan. However, China and Russia will be less than one-fifth of Japan which is regarded as low standard.
GDP(Gross Domestic Product) by purchasing power par per person (relative value)
  1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
Japan 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
China 7 8 9 10 11 12 12 13
Northeast Three Provinces* 10 10 11 13 14 14 15 16
Korea 42 44 45 47 51 54 55 56
Russia 33 30 27 24 21 20 18 18
Far East - - - - 23 20 19 20
* : Heilungchiang, Chilin, Liaoning
Geography of the Northwest Pacific Region
This region is abundant in mountains. In the Far East Russia, Chelskiy and Verkhoyanskiy range in north and south and Stanovoy ranges east and west. Sikhote-Alinskiy ranges along the Sea of Japan. As for main rivers, there are the Lena which runs north and south and the Amur which runs into the Sea of Okhotsk as a border between China and Russia. The northern part is iced up all through the year because it faces the Arctic Ocean. But, there are good fisheries in offshore of the eastern part because it faces the Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, Sea of Japan and Pacific Ocean.
There are rich fisheries in the Sea of Japan which has Liman Cold current and Tsushima Warm current and they support living of people along that region. The mixed water of Kuroshio Current and East China Sea stays in the western part of Tsushima channel which refers to be the entrance of the Sea of Japan. It flows into the Sea of Japan due to a water level difference around Tsushima channel and warms the Sea of Japan as Tsushima current. Also, a part of current flow through Tsugaru channel into Pacific Ocean. Dry seasonal wind blows from continents in winter period, however, it transforms into wet wind due to a lot of vapor generated from the Sea of Japan, especially Tsushima current. Then, it becomes snow when it hits Japan and ascends along mountain range, then it makes the coastal area of the Sea of Japan the area of high snowfall.
The Japanese Islands are located in the southeastern part of Northeast Asia Region and shaped like an arc along the east edge of the Asian Continent. 73 per cent of its land is covered by mountainous region. The ratio of its forest covering is 67.2 per cent, which is the highest number in Northeast Asia Region and that of its cultivated area is 13.3 per cent.
The Korean Peninsula is enclosed by the ocean in 3 directions. Its area is mountainous which has Jang Back in Northern part and Tae Baek along the Sea of Japan. However, there is no mountain which is over 2000 meter high and its eastern area forms steep slope and western area forms gentle slope where Tae Baek is bounded. The cultivated area is mainly located in plain field in western area which is 22 per cent of its land. 75 per cent of North Korea is mountainous land and it has higher mountains compared to Korea. The plain field of southwestern in North Korea forms rice-producing district and 15 per cent of its land is cultivated area.
34 per cent of northeast land in China is mountainous area. This area has high ratio of forest covering in China. As a valuable resource, there are forests which were formed by mountainous district of Jang Back that borders North Korea. The fertile plain field for food production extends in the plain and 22 per cent of its land is cultivated area. Major cultivated areas are Heerhpin in Heilungchiang, Changchun in Chilin and Shenyang in Liaoning and there agricultural areas produce soy bean, wheat, corn and etc.
In North China, geographical feature of whole land is descends gently toward the west. About 40 per cent of its land is an alluvial plain which was formed by the Yellow River.
Most part is covered with a coniferous forest called Taiga in Far East Russia and it is regarded as a rich forest resource. People do cultivation in the basin of Amur River in Khabarovsk region but there are a few agricultural lands and it takes only 0.9 per cent of land of Far East Russia.
Climate in the Northwest Pacific Region
The climate of the Northwest Pacific Region belongs to wide range of climate zone. Sakhalin in Russia belongs to subarctic climate that summer is short and cool and winter is long and chilly. Khabarovsk, Primorsky, Amur, North Korea and Northeast Three Provinces in China belong to hot summer continental climate that summer is short and hot and winter is long and cool.
The weather condition of North China is a typical type of continental climate that winter is cold and summer is very hot. It is very chilly in the morning and evening, and spring comes late and fall is short there. Besides, wind blows strongly in spring and Yellow sand and fluffy willow seed usually fly during that season. It has high ratio of annual precipitation and 70 per cent of it is mainly in summer period.
Japan(except for Hokkaido area) and Korea belong to mesoherm monsoon climate that has four seasons, and it is hot and humid in summer but cool and little rain fall in winter. It has a big difference in temperature through the year in Korea due to the continental climate.
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