Japan (Japanese: ?? Nippon ?ippo? or Nihon ?iho?; formally ??? Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, meaning “State of Japan”). Located in Eastern Asia, it is an island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula. Area: total: 377,915 sq. km, land: 364,485 sq. km, Coastline: 29,751 km and water: 13,430 sq. km.
The kanji that make up Japan’s name mean “sun origin” and it is often called the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan’s land area and often are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one. The population of 127 million is the world’s tenth largest. Japanese people make up 98.5% of Japan’s total population. About 9.1 million people live in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. The islands of Japan are located in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
About 73 percent of Japan is forested, mountainous and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial or residential use. As a result, the habitable zones, mainly located in coastal areas, have extremely high population densities. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with dense cities, imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and thousands of shrines and temples. Shinkansen bullet trains connect the main islands of Kyushu (with Okinawa’s subtropical beaches), Honshu (home to Tokyo and Hiroshima’s atomic-bomb memorial) and Hokkaido (famous for skiing). Tokyo, the capital, is known for skyscrapers, shopping and pop culture.
With a population of 126,451,398 (July 2017 est.) it is the tenth most populous country. Population – distribution: all primary and secondary regions of high population density lie on the coast; one-third of the population resides in and around Tokyo on the central plain (Kanto Plain).
Citizenship is not by birth but by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Japan, dual citizenship is not recognized and residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years. Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal.
Independence: 3 May 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution); notable earlier dates: 660 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy). National holiday: Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933); note – celebrates the birthday of the current emperor.
Constitution: previous 1890; latest approved 6 October 1946, adopted 3 November 1946, effective 3 May 1947; note – the constitution has not been amended since its enactment in 1947 (2016). Legal system: civil law system based on German model; system also reflects Anglo-American influence and Japanese traditions; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court.
National anthem: name: “Kimigayo” (The Emperor’s Reign) lyrics/music: unknown/Hiromori HAYASHI (note: adopted 1999; unofficial national anthem since 1883; oldest anthem lyrics in the world, dating to the 10th century or earlier; there is some opposition to the anthem because of its association with militarism and worship of the emperor) Flag description: white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the centre National symbol(s): red sun disc, chrysanthemum; national colours: red, white.
Over the past 70 years, government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defence allocation (slightly less than 1% of GDP) have helped Japan develop an advanced economy. Two notable characteristics of the post-World War II economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labour force. Both features have significantly eroded under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.
Japan is the third largest national economy in the world, after the United States and China, in terms of nominal GDP, and the fourth largest national economy in the world, after the United States, China and India, in terms of purchasing power parity. As of 2016, Japan’s public debt was estimated at more than 230 percent of its annual gross domestic product, the largest of any nation in the world.
Japan has a large industrial capacity, and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronics, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemical substances, textiles, and processed foods. Agricultural businesses in Japan cultivate 13 percent of Japan’s land, and Japan accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global fish catch, second only to China. As of 2016, Japan’s labour force consisted of some 65.9 million workers. Japan has a low unemployment rate of around four percent.
Japan is one of the top-performing OECD countries in reading literacy, maths and sciences with the average student scoring 540 and has one of the world’s highest-educated labour forces among OECD countries. The Japanese populace is well educated and its society highly values education as a platform for social mobility and for gaining employment in the country’s competitive high-tech economy. The country’s large pool of highly educated and skilled individuals is largely responsible for ushering Japan’s post-war economic growth.
Animation- Anime and Manga
Japanese animated films and television series, known as anime for short, were largely influenced by Japanese manga comic books and have been extensively popular in the West. Japan is a world-renowned powerhouse of animation.
Cinema of Japan
Japan has one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world; movies have been produced in Japan since 1897. Three Japanese films (Rashomon, Seven Samurai and Tokyo Story) made the Sight & Sound’s 2002 Critics and Directors Poll for the best films of all time. Ishir? Honda’s Godzilla became an international icon of Japan and spawned an entire subgenre of kaiju films, as well as the longest-running film franchise in history. The most acclaimed Japanese film directors include Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu and Shohei Imamura. Japan has won the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film four times, more than any other Asian country.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8 and the G20—and is considered a great power. The country has the world’s third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the world’s fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world’s fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer.
The country benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most highly educated countries in the world, with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the world’s eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defence and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a highly developed country with a very high standard of living and Human Development Index. Its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern-day technology.
Problems faced high suicide rates aging population and shrinking population.
Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
Religions: Shintoism 79.2%, Buddhism 66.8%, Christianity 1.5%, other 7.1% note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people practice both Shintoism and Buddhism (2012 EST.)
Languages: Japanese Japanese (singular and plural)
• 0-14 years: 12.84% (male 8,361,611/female 7,875,045)
• 15-24 years: 9.64% (male 6,417,085/female 5,778,904)
• 25-54 years: 37.5% (male 23,435,323/female 23,980,781)
• 55-64 years: 12.15% (male 7,692,424/female 7,665,157)
• 65 years and over: 27.87% (male 15,397,309/female 19,847,759) (2017 EST.)
• total dependency ratio: 64
• youth dependency ratio: 21.3
• elderly dependency ratio: 42.7
• Potential support ratio: 2.3 (2015 EST.)
Median age: total: 47.3 years- male: 46 years and female: 48.7 years (2017 EST.) Population growth rate: -0.21% (2017 EST.)
Birth rate: 7.7 births/1,000 population (2017 EST.)
Death rate: 9.8 deaths/1,000 population (2017 EST.)
Japan is making modest progress in ending deflation, but demographic decline – a low birth-rate and an aging, shrinking population – poses a major long-term challenge for the economy. Scarce in critical natural resources, Japan has long been dependent on imported energy and raw materials. After the complete shutdown of Japan’s nuclear reactors following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, Japan’s industrial sector has become even more dependent than before on imported fossil fuels.
Japanese people are extremely resilient and hard workers – they are the only ones to have faced nuclear warfare (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and also the Fukushima nuclear disaster caused by the 2011 earthquake and resultant tsunami. But this small island chain (smaller than California) and its people are unique and used to the active volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunami and all other catastrophes and still remain true to their culture and forward looking, modern and a super power.
In October 2015, Japan and 11 trading partners reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a pact that had promised to open Japan’s economy to increased foreign competition and create new export opportunities for Japanese businesses. Japan was the second country to ratify the TPP in December 2016; the United States signalled its withdrawal from the TPP on January 23, 2017, and as of April 2017 the agreement has not gone into effect.
Japan is a member of the UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8 and the G20—and is considered a great power. The country has the world’s third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the world’s fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world’s fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer.
The country benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most highly educated countries in the world, with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the world’s eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defence and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a very high standard of living and Human Development Index. Its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Japan is well-known internationally for its major contributions to science and modern-day technology.
Japan has diplomatic relations with nearly all independent nations and has been an active member of the United Nations since December 1956. Japan is a member of the G8, APEC, and “ASEAN plus Three”, and is a participant in the East Asia Summit. Japan signed a security pact with Australia in March 2007 and with India in October 2008. It is the world’s fifth largest donor of official development assistance, donating US$9.2 billion in 2014.
Japan has close ties to the United States. Since Japan’s defeat by the United States and allies in World War II, the two countries have maintained close economic and defence relations. The United States is a major market for Japanese exports and the primary source of Japanese imports, and is committed to defending the country, having military bases in Japan for partially that purpose. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation by the SCAP, Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.