city and industrial suburb of the Osaka-Kobe (Hanshin) metropolitan area, Hyogo ken (prefecture), Honshu, Japan. In the feudal period it was a castle town. During the 20th century it attracted large, modern factories, formerly geared to wartime production, to produce iron and steel goods, electrical machinery, transport vehicles, and chemicals. The main industrial belt lies along the coast, where costly protective dikes have been constructed. The city has superb railroad facilities and canals and strong economic ties with Osaka. Extensive withdrawal of groundwater for industrial use has led to serious land subsidence, rendering the city vulnerable to high waves during the typhoon season. Preventive measures include landfill and external water-supply systems. Railroad lines and numerous other facilities were damaged by the Hanshin earthquake of 1995. Pop. (2005) 462,647.
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