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This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


Map of Japan



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Japan Top of Page
Background:

In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For 250 years this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture. Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854, Japan opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, actual power rests in networks of powerful politicians, bureaucrats, and business executives. The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japan still remains a major economic power, both in Asia and globally.

 

  
   Geography    Japan Top of Page
Location:

Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
Geographic coordinates:

36 00 N, 138 00 E
Map references:

Asia
Area:

total: 377,835 sq km
land: 374,744 sq km
water: 3,091 sq km
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)
Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than California
Land boundaries:

0 km
Coastline:

29,751 km
Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:

varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Terrain:

mostly rugged and mountainous
Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m
Natural resources:

negligible mineral resources, fish
Land use:

arable land: 11.64%
permanent crops: 0.9%
other: 87.46% (2005)
Irrigated land:

25,920 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:

many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; tsunamis; typhoons
Environment - current issues:

air pollution from power plant emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere
Environment - international agreements:

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Geography - note:

strategic location in northeast Asia
   People    Japan Top of Page
Population:

127,433,494 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:

0-14 years: 13.8% (male 9,024,344/female 8,553,700)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 41,841,760/female 41,253,968)
65 years and over: 21% (male 11,312,492/female 15,447,230) (2007 est.)
Median age:

total: 43.5 years
male: 41.7 years
female: 45.3 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:

-0.088% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:

8.1 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:

8.98 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.055 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.014 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.732 male(s)/female
total population: 0.953 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:

total: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 82.02 years
male: 78.67 years
female: 85.56 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:

1.23 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

12,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:

500 (2003 est.)
Nationality:

noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Japanese
Ethnic groups:

Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.7%
note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)
Religions:

observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)
Languages:

Japanese
Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2002)
   Government    Japan Top of Page
Country name:

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Japan
local long form: Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku
local short form: Nihon/Nippon
Government type:

constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
Capital:

name: Tokyo
geographic coordinates: 35 41 N, 139 45 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:

47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gunma, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Oita, Okayama, Okinawa, Osaka, Saga, Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tokyo, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi
Independence:

660 B.C. (traditional founding by Emperor JIMMU)
National holiday:

Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)
Constitution:

3 May 1947
Legal system:

modeled after German civil law system with English-American influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage:

20 years of age; universal
Executive branch:

chief of state: Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Yasuo FUKUDA (since 26 September 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections: Diet designates prime minister; constitution requires that prime minister commands parliamentary majority; following legislative elections, leader of majority party or leader of majority coalition in House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister; monarch is hereditary
election results: FUKUDA elected prime minister with 338 of 477 votes cast in the House of Representatives; he received 106 of 240 votes cast in the House of Councillors; vote of House of Representatives prevailed
Legislative branch:

bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House of Councillors or Sangi-in (242 seats - members elected for six-year terms; half reelected every three years; 146 members in multi-seat constituencies and 96 by proportional representation) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (480 seats - members elected for four-year terms; 300 in single-seat constituencies; 180 members by proportional representation in 11 regional blocs)
elections: House of Councillors - last held 29 July 2007 (next to be held in July 2010); House of Representatives - last held 11 September 2005 (next election by September 2009)
election results: House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - DPJ 109, LDP 83, Komeito 20, JCP 7, SDP 5, others 18
: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - LDP 47.8%, DPJ 36.4%, others 15.8%; seats by party - LDP 296, DPJ 113, Komeito 31, JCP 9, SDP 7, others 24 (2007)
Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the monarch after designation by the cabinet; all other justices are appointed by the cabinet)
Political parties and leaders:

Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ [Ichiro OZAWA]; Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]; Komeito [Akihoro OTA]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Yasuo FUKUDA]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:

NA
International organization participation:

AfDB, APEC, APT, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA, MIGA, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SECI (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMOVIC, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Ryozo KATO
chancery: 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 238-6700
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187
consulate(s) general: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Agana (Guam), Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador J. Thomas SCHIEFFER
embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
mailing address: Unit 45004, Box 258, APO AP 96337-5004
telephone: [81] (03) 3224-5000
FAX: [81] (03) 3505-1862
consulate(s) general: Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo
consulate(s): Fukuoka, Nagoya
Flag description:

white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center
   Economy    Japan Top of Page
Economy - overview:

Government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (1% of GDP) helped Japan advance with extraordinary rapidity to the rank of second most technologically powerful economy in the world after the US and the third-largest economy in the world after the US and China, measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. One notable characteristic of the economy has been how manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors have worked together in closely-knit groups called keiretsu. A second basic feature has been the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features have now eroded. Japan's industrial sector is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. The tiny agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among the highest in the world. Usually self sufficient in rice, Japan must import about 60% of its food on a caloric basis. Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch. For three decades, overall real economic growth had been spectacular - a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s, and a 4% average in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of the after effects of overinvestment and an asset price bubble during the late 1980s that required a protracted period of time for firms to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor. From 2000 to 2001, government efforts to revive economic growth proved short-lived and were hampered by the slowing of the US, European, and Asian economies. In 2002-06, growth improved and the lingering fears of deflation in prices and economic activity lessened. Japan's huge government debt, which totals 176% of GDP, and the aging of the population are two major long-run problems. Some fear that a rise in taxes could endanger the current economic recovery. Debate also continues on the role of and effects of reform in restructuring the economy, particularly with respect to the 2007-17 privatization of Japan Post, which has functioned not only as the national postal delivery system but also, through its banking and insurance facilities, as Japan's largest financial institution.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$4.218 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):

$4.883 trillion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:

2.2% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):

$33,100 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 1.5%
industry: 25.6%
services: 73% (2006 est.)
Labor force:

66.57 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 4.6%
industry: 27.8%
services: 67.7% (2004)
Unemployment rate:

4.1% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:

NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 4.8%
highest 10%: 21.7% (1993)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

38.1 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):

0.2% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):

23.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:

revenues: $1.479 trillion
expenditures: $1.586 trillion; including capital expenditures (public works only) of about $71 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt:

177.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:

rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit; pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs; fish
Industries:

among world's largest and technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods
Industrial production growth rate:

3.3% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:

1.025 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

974.2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:

125,000 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - consumption:

5.578 million bbl/day (2005)
Oil - exports:

94,830 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:

5.425 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:

58.5 million bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas - production:

4.85 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

83.67 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:

77.6 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:

38.02 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:

$170.5 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:

$615.8 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:

transport equipment, motor vehicles, semiconductors, electrical machinery, chemicals
Exports - partners:

US 22.8%, China 14.3%, South Korea 7.8%, Taiwan 6.8%, Hong Kong 5.6% (2006)
Imports:

$534.5 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials
Imports - partners:

China 20.5%, US 12%, Saudi Arabia 6.4%, UAE 5.5%, Australia 4.8%, South Korea 4.7%, Indonesia 4.2% (2006)
Economic aid - donor:

ODA, $8.9 billion (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$881 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:

$1.547 trillion (30 June 2006)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$88.62 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$459.6 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:

$4.737 trillion (2005)
Currency (code):

yen (JPY)
Exchange rates:

yen per US dollar - 116.18 (2006), 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003), 125.39 (2002)
Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Japan Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:

55.155 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

101.7 million (2006)
Telephone system:

general assessment: excellent domestic and international service
domestic: high level of modern technology and excellent service of every kind
international: country code - 81; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region), and 1 Inmarsat (Pacific and Indian Ocean regions); submarine cables to China, Philippines, Russia, and US (via Guam) (1999)
Radio broadcast stations:

AM 215 (plus 370 repeaters), FM 89 (plus 485 repeaters), shortwave 21 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:

211 (plus 7,341 repeaters); in addition, US Forces are served by 3 TV stations and 2 TV cable services (1999)
Internet country code:

.jp
Internet hosts:

33.333 million (2007)
Internet users:

87.54 million (2006)
   Transportation    Japan Top of Page
Airports:

176 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:

total: 145
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 40
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 29 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 31
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 27 (2007)
Heliports:

14 (2007)
Pipelines:

gas 8,015 km; oil 170 km; oil/gas/water 60 km (2006)
Railways:

total: 23,474 km
standard gauge: 3,204 km 1.435-m gauge (3,204 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 77 km 1.372-m gauge (77 km electrified); 20,182 km 1.067-m gauge (13,334 km electrified); 11 km 0.762-m gauge (11 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways:

total: 1.183 million km
paved: 925,000 km (includes 6,946 km of expressways)
unpaved: 258,000 km (2003)
Waterways:

1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2007)
Merchant marine:

total: 676 ships (1000 GRT or over) 10,386,894 GRT/11,689,142 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 131, cargo 29, carrier 3, chemical tanker 23, container 10, liquefied gas 58, passenger 14, passenger/cargo 142, petroleum tanker 157, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 52, vehicle carrier 55
registered in other countries: 2,692 (Bahamas 62, Belize 2, Bermuda 1, Burma 3, Cambodia 3, Cayman Islands 6, China 2, Cyprus 19, France 5, Honduras 4, Hong Kong 78, Indonesia 5, Isle of Man 4, South Korea 1, Liberia 111, Malaysia 4, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 5, Mongolia 1, Norway 1, Panama 2,151, Philippines 69, Portugal 10, Singapore 108, Sweden 1, Thailand 4, UK 1, Vanuatu 28, unknown 2) (2007)
Ports and terminals:

Chiba, Kawasaki, Kiire, Kisarazu, Kobe, Mizushima, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Yohohama
   Military    Japan Top of Page
Military branches:

Japanese Defense Agency (JDA): Ground Self-Defense Force (Rikujou Jietai, GSDF), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijou Jietai, MSDF), Air Self-Defense Force (Nihon Koku-Jieitai, ASDF) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 18-49: 27,003,112
females age 18-49: 26,153,482 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 18-49: 22,234,663
females age 18-49: 21,494,947 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:

males age 18-49: 683,147
females age 18-49: 650,157 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:

0.8% (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Japan Top of Page
Disputes - international:

the sovereignty dispute over the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan, and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the "Northern Territories" and in Russia as the "Southern Kuril Islands," occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities; Japan and South Korea claim Liancourt Rocks (Take-shima/Tok-do) occupied by South Korea since 1954; China and Taiwan dispute both Japan's claims to the uninhabited islands of the Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) and Japan's unilaterally declared exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea, the site of intensive hydrocarbon prospecting

This page was last updated on 15 November, 2007


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