Island (pop., 2006 est.: 5,605,531) and province, northern Japan. Northernmost of the four main islands of Japan, it is bordered by the Sea of Japan (East Sea), the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Pacific Ocean and has an area of 30,109 sq mi (77,982 sq km). Its administrative headquarters is Sapporo. Within its borders are several high peaks, including Mount Asahi (7,513 ft [2,290 m]), and Japan's longest river, the Ishikari. Long the domain of the aboriginal Ainu, Hokkaido attracted serious Japanese settlement beginning in 1869. It has a varied economy, supported by iron and steel, and the largest coal deposits in Japan. The Seikan Tunnel (1988) under the Tsugaru Strait links it with Honshu.
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