Geography and History of the World © 2010 Indiana Edition

Chapter 28: The Region Today: East Asia

Chapter Overviews

East Asia is a region comprised of both developing and highly industrialized countries. Agriculture plays a major role, but industry and trade are becoming more important especially in China. While some countries are major contributors of pollution due to their reliance on fossil fuels, Japan has become a world leader in addressing environmental issues.

The Economy The governments and economies in East Asia are closely related. During the mid- to late 1900s, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan developed democratic governments and have become important industrial and trading countries. Communist-ruled China has shifted to a mixed economy, with largely agricultural regions inland and industrial areas on the coast. It has been faced with repeated sanctions by other countries because of its human-rights violations. Democratic Mongolia is still largely rural but has been shifting to a mixed economy. North Korea is one of the world's few remaining command economies, and many resources go towards its military. Major rivers serve as transport routes in China, and railroad and highways provide other means of transportation throughout the region, especially in more urbanized areas.

People and Their Environment Most countries in East Asia rely on the burning of fossil fuels for their power. This has led to problems with acid rain and air pollution. China has begun to solve problems such as lack of sewage treatment facilities, toxic emissions from factories, and deforestation and the resulting erosion. South Korea faces the additional issue of safely disposing of wastes from its nuclear power plants. Japan has become a leader in the region and the world in addressing environmental issues, developing low-emission cars and reducing emissions of chlorofluorocarbons. The region relies heavily on its ocean resources and has begun aquaculture to solve the problems of overfishing. Countries in the region face such natural disasters as flooding, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and typhoons.

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