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The planar-type surface wave plasma (SWP) device permits the generation of high-density and uniform processing plasmas via 2.45-GHz microwave power without the application of an external magnetic field. In the present study, the discharge characteristics in the SWP device were analyzed using a two-dimensional numerical simulation code, and the results were compared with experimental observations. The simulation code is based on the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method for the microwave field and on the electron fluid model for the argon discharge plasma. Experimental measurements were performed, and they showed that the surface-wave discharge at a filling pressure of 10-100 mtorr has characteristic electron-density distributions that have a peak at approximately 2 cm from the surface. This characteristic of the electron density profiles, as well as the electron temperature profiles in the plasma, is reproduced by the simulation code, albeit with some discrepancies. In order to reduce the effects of these discrepancies, intentional changes in the electron heat conductivity were introduced, and the adiabatic assumption was found to result in a reasonable electron temperature profile. The effects of the alumina window thickness were also investigated in the simulation.