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city, central Niigata ken (prefecture), north-central Honshu, Japan. It lies on the Niigata Plain, about 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Niigata city. Oil was discovered southeast of Niitsu in the 17th century, and exploitation began in 1898. Three railway lines were subsequently opened through the city. Although the output of the oil fields has decreased significantly, Niitsu continues to be an important transport and commercial centre, producing tulip and hyacinth bulbs for export. In the late 1960s it developed as a residential suburb of Niigata city. Pop. (2004 est.) 67,923.