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city, northeastern Hokkaido, Japan, facing the Sea of Okhotsk at the confluence of the Tokoro-gawa (Tokoro River) and the Muka-gawa. It occupies 163 sq mi (421 sq km) on the railway between Asahigawa and Abashiri. Originally an Ainu settlement known as Nokkeushi (Edge of a Field), it was first settled by Japanese immigrants in 1897. The town was made a municipality in 1942 and renamed Kitami. The surrounding Kitami Valley produces beans, potatoes, sugar beets, and peppermint; the peppermint refinery in Kitami is one of the largest in Japan. Other industries produce lumber, paper, iron, and steel products. Pop. (2005) 129,365.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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