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Sakhalin (Jap. Karafuto) Island off the e coast of Russia, between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan. The capital is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (1994 pop. 162,000). Settled by Russians and Japanese in the 18th and 19th centuries, it came under Russian control in 1875. Japan regained the s in 1905, but was forced to cede it again in 1945. The island is mountainous and forested, with a harsh climate. Grains and potatoes grow in the s. Sakhalin's chief importance lies in its deposits of coal and iron ore; oil, extracted in the ne, is piped to the Russian mainland. Other industries: timber, fishing, canning. Area: 76,400sq km (29,500sq mi). Pop. (2000) 598,000.
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