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By Out Links > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Japan
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Map of Japan
IntroductionTop
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 United States 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 1933 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. In 2005, Japan began a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
GeographyTop
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: 12.19%
permanent crops: 0.96%
other: 86.85% (2001)

Irrigated land:26,790 sq km (1998 est.)
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
PeopleTop
Population:127,417,244 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 14.3% (male 9,328,584/female 8,866,772)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 42,462,533/female 41,942,835)
65 years and over: 19.5% (male 10,435,284/female 14,381,236) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 42.64 years
male: 40.87 years
female: 44.44 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:0.05% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:9.47 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:8.95 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 3.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.52 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 81.15 years
male: 77.86 years
female: 84.61 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.39 children born/woman (2005 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 99%, others 1% (Korean 511,262, Chinese 244,241, Brazilian 182,232, Filipino 89,851, other 237,914)
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)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Japan

Government type:constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
Capital:Tokyo
Administrative divisions:47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gumma, 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 BC (traditional founding by Emperor JIMMU)
National holiday:Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)
Constitution:3 May 1947
Legal system:modeled after European 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 Junichiro KOIZUMI (since 26 April 2001)
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; KOIZUMI's term as leader of the LDP is scheduled to end in September 2006; a new prime minister may be chosen at that time; monarch is hereditary

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; 144 members in multi-seat constituencies and 98 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 11 July 2004 (next to be held in July 2007); House of Representatives - last held 9 November 2003 (next election by November 2007)
election results: House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LDP 115, DPJ 82, Komeito 24, JCP 9, SDP 5, others 7; distribution of seats as of October 2004 - LDP 114, DPJ 84, Komeito 24, JCP 9, SDP 5, others 6
: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - LDP 49.38%, DPJ 36.88%, Komeito 7.09%, JCP 1.88%, SDP 1.25%, NCP 0.84%; seats by party - LDP 237, DPJ 177, Komeito 34, JCP 9, SDP 6, NCP 4, others 13
note: distribution of seats as of December 2004: LDP 249, DPJ 177, Komeito 34, JCP 9, SDP 6, others 3, vacant 2 (2004)

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 [Katsuya OKADA, leader; Tatsuo KAWABATA, secretary general]; Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII, chairman; Tadayoshi ICHIDA, secretary general]; Komeito [Takenori KANZAKI, president; Tetsuzo FUYUSHIBA, secretary general]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Junichiro KOIZUMI, president; Tsutomu TAKEBE, secretary general]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA, chairperson; Seiji MATAICHI, secretary general]
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, EBRD, FAO, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA, MIGA, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club, PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMOVIC, UNRWA, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
Flag description:white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center
EconomyTop
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 third-largest economy after the US and China, measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. (Using market exhange rates rather than PPP rates, Japan's economy is larger than China's.) One notable characteristic of the economy is the working together of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors 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 are now eroding. Industry, the most important sector of the economy, 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 50% of its requirements of other grain and fodder crops. 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 during the late 1980s and contractionary domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. From 2000 to 2003, government efforts to revive economic growth met with little success and were further hampered by the slowing of the US, European, and Asian economies. In 2004, growth improved and the lingering fears of deflation in prices and economic activity lessened. Japan's huge government debt, which totals more than 160% of GDP, and the aging of the population are two major long-run problems. A rise in taxes could be viewed as endangering the revival of growth. Robotics constitutes a key long-term economic strength with Japan possessing 410,000 of the world's 720,000 "working robots." Internal conflict over the proper way to reform the ailing banking system continues.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $3.745 trillion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:2.9% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $29,400 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 24.7%
services: 74.1% (2004 est.)

Labor force:66.97 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 5%, industry 25%, services 70% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate:4.7% (2004 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:24.9 (1993)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):-0.1% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):24% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $1.401 trillion
expenditures: $1.748 trillion, including capital expenditures (public works only) of about $71 billion (2004 est.)

Public debt:164.3% of GDP (2004 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:6.6% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:1.044 trillion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 60%
hydro: 8.4%
nuclear: 29.8%
other: 1.8% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:971 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:17,330 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:5.29 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:93,360 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:5.449 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:29.29 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:2.519 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:80.42 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:77.73 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:20.02 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:$170.2 billion (2004 est.)
Exports:$538.8 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:transport equipment, motor vehicles, semiconductors, electrical machinery, chemicals
Exports - partners:US 22.7%, China 13.1%, South Korea 7.8%, Taiwan 7.4%, Hong Kong 6.3% (2004)
Imports:$401.8 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials (2001)
Imports - partners:China 20.7%, US 14%, South Korea 4.9%, Australia 4.3%, Indonesia 4.1%, Saudi Arabia 4.1%, UAE 4% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$664.6 billion (2003)
Debt - external:NA (2002 est.)
Economic aid - donor:ODA, $7.9 billion (FY03/04)
Currency (code):yen (JPY)
Currency code:JPY
Exchange rates:yen per US dollar - 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003), 125.39 (2002), 121.53 (2001), 107.77 (2000)
Fiscal year:1 April - 31 March
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:71.149 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:86,658,600 (2003)
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)
Radios:120.5 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:211 plus 7,341 repeaters
note: in addition, US Forces are served by 3 TV stations and 2 TV cable services (1999)

Televisions:86.5 million (1997)
Internet country code:.jp
Internet hosts:12,962,065 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):73 (2000)
Internet users:57.2 million (2002)
TransportationTop
Railways:total: 23,577 km (16,519 km electrified)
standard gauge: 3,204 km 1.435-m gauge (3,204 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 77 km 1.372-m gauge (77 km electrified); 20,265 km 1.067-m gauge (13,227 km electrified); 11 km 0.762-m gauge (11 km electrified) (2004)

Highways:total: 1,171,647 km
paved: 903,340 km (including 6,851 km of expressways)
unpaved: 268,307 km (2001)

Waterways:1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2004)
Pipelines:gas 2,719 km; oil 170 km; oil/gas/water 60 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:Chiba, Kawasaki, Kiire, Kisarazu, Kobe, Mizushima, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Yohohama
Merchant marine:total: 702 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 10,149,196 GRT/12,680,544 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 136, cargo 29, chemical tanker 23, container 13, liquefied gas 53, passenger 16, passenger/cargo 157, petroleum tanker 160, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 52, vehicle carrier 59
registered in other countries: 2,233 (2005)

Airports:174 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 143
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 39
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 32 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 31
over 3047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 26 (2004 est.)

Heliports:15 (2004 est.)
MilitaryTop
Military branches:Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy), Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 27,003,112 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 22,234,663 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 683,147 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$45.841 billion (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:1% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
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



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