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Highway/Freeway System, Japan

Despite geographic constraints, Japan has developed an extensive and efficient road system. The network of expressways connects all major urban areas. Bridges and tunnels link three of the four main islands. The road system supports the travel and tourism industry by contributing to the accessibility of rural and mountainous areas. However, road travel faces competition from rail travel, which tends to be cheaper and faster. Congestion is a major problem, especially in urban areas, and social and environmental issues are becoming increasingly important. The road system is also vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. This entry gives an overview of the road system in Japan, including geography’s impact and the expressway network’s coverage. It also discusses the history of the road system, ...

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