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Neogene and Quaternary sedimentary successions are widely distributed across the Japanese islands, commonly underlying or distributing nearby heavily populated areas where the infrastructure of Japanese society is fully developed. Furthermore, some Neogene sedimentary successions contain oil and gas and have played an important role in hydrocarbon production in Japan. The Neogene and Quaternary sedimentary basins formed as a response to the development of the Japanese arc-trench system as a result of the opening of the Sea of Japan (c. 15 Ma), and spatial and temporal variations in the sedimentary successions are considered to have been controlled by the interaction between glacial-interglacial sea-level changes and active tectonic movements of the arc-trench system, which has been controlled mainly by subduction of the Paci?c and Philippine Sea plates beneath the Japanese islands.

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