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"In the Japanese system, prefecture are used for translating an adminstrative district about the size of a county. " What does "county" relate to here? Is it a US county? By the way, what is the size of a county? - Olivier

That was written by a Canadian, so I couldn't begin to guess. In the US, there's no standard size to counties that I'm aware of; here in California they vary in area from a couple hundred to fifty thousand km2, and in population from about a thousand people to about ten million. --Brion
That sentence was borrowed from a Geocities website written by a Jap. That non-copyright page is brief so I intended to post here as a stub.kt2

I managed to dig up some stats on population and land area by prefecture (ignore the forest stuff, just look at the first couple columns; the area figures are in hectares). The prefectures also vary fairly widely from 1880 to 83,410 km², with an average size of about 8000 km² (vs about 7000 km² average of counties in California), and a median around 6000 km² (vs about 4000 km² median for counties). In terms of population, Japanese prefectures are significantly more crowded, with an average population of about 2.7 million each (vs ca counties 583,000), but the population is a bit more evenly spread out among them (median of ~1.8 mil, vs counties a mere 165,669!) Hope that helps... --Brion

The difference is not in size or population but in administrative responsibility. At the lowest level you have the town or city government, the so called municipality (mayors, town councils, etc), then you have the county level government representing a city or collection of towns or large rural area, then you have regional or prefecture level government (US states, English Regions, japanese prefectures) and finally national government. (talk) 02:39, 11 May 2009 (UTC)