ABSTRACT: The genetic diversity of wild and hatchery-released Pacific herring Clupea pallasii collected from three brackish lakes and two bays in Honshu and Hokkaido, Japan was examined with five microsatellite loci. All loci showed high genetic variability with expected heterozygosities ranging from 0.815 to 0.945. Significant differences in genotypic and allelic distributions were detected among all locations except for between the two bays in Honshu Island. Pairwise population analysis based on the FST values showed close genetic relationships among the locations in Hokkaido Island, and the hierarchical analyses of molecular variance showed significant genetic difference between the two islands. Those results suggest the existence of subpopulations due to natal homing. In addition, stocked fish showed as much genetic diversity as the wild fish. The pairwise population analyses also showed close relationships between the hatchery fish and the wild fish in respective stocking areas, showing that no effects of stocking programs on genetic diversity of wild populations were detected.