Most ecological studies investigating the relationship between incidence and/or mortality of skin cancer and surrogate measures of ultraviolet radiation B (UVB) have been conducted among the Caucasian population. The objective of the present study was therefore to assess the geographical correlation between ambient UVB estimates and regional mortality rates for skin cancer in Japan. The standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for malignant melanoma and other malignant neoplasms of the skin was calculated by sex, region and time-period for all deaths occurring in the period 1973-1994. The Spearman's correlation coefficient was calculated between estimated ambient UVB and regional SMRs for the two types of skin cancer. There was no geographical correlation between UVB and skin cancer mortality, except for a significantly negative correlation in malignant melanoma among males and a significantly negative correlation in other malignant neoplasms of the skin confined to unexposed anatomic sites of the body among females. The characteristic ecological relationship adds to the importance of conducting further epidemiological studies at the individual level in Japan.