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Japan Facts

Japan; Facts and Information. The Japanese People and Culture

This page details some general information about Japan, Japanese culture and the Japanese people, and includes a map of Japan.

It may prove useful in your dealings with Japanese car importers and exporters - it is ALWAYS sensible to know as much as possible about the people you do business with.

Japan Map

Japan is a chain of islands off the eastern coast of Asia between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula

Map of Japan

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Japan Flag

The Flag of Japan is white with a large red disk which represents the Rising Sun without rays.

Flag of Japan

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About Japan

Japan Facts and Figures

Background: While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan rapidly absorbed Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 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.

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

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than California Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 29,751 km

Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM 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

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: 12.13% permanent crops: 1.01% other: 86.86% (1998 est.)

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, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

Geography - note: strategic location in northeast Asia

Population: 127,214,499 (July 2003 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.4% (male 9,368,132; female 8,906,024) 15-64 years: 67% (male 42,852,204; female 42,368,109) 65 years and over: 18.6% (male 9,945,638; female 13,774,392) (2003 est.) Median age: total: 42 years male: 40.3 years female: 43.8 years (2002)

Population growth rate: 0.11% (2003 est.)

Birth rate: 9.61 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate: 8.55 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 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: 0.72 male(s)/female total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2003 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births female: 3.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.) male: 3.56 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80.93 years male: 77.63 years female: 84.41 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.38 children born/woman (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2001 est.) HIV/AIDS - deaths: 430 (2001 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) (2000)

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% (1995 est.) male: NA% female: NA%

Government 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) note: following the resignation of Prime Minister Yoshiro MORI, Junichiro KOIZUMI was elected as the new president of the majority Liberal Democratic Party and soon thereafter designated by the Diet to become the next prime minister

elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; the Diet designates the prime minister; the constitution requires that the prime minister must command a parliamentary majority; therefore, following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition in the House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister head of government: Prime Minister Junichiro KOIZUMI (since 26 April 2001)

Legislative branch: bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House of Councillors or Sangi-in (247 seats - members elected for six-year terms; half reelected every three years; 149 members in multi-seat constituencies and 98 by proportional representation); 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) election results: House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - LDP 110, DPJ 59, Komeito 23, JCP 20, SDP 8, Liberal Party 8, Conservative Party 5, independents 14; distribution of seats as of July 2001 was: LDP 115, DPJ 60, Komeito 24, JCP 20, SDP 8, Liberal Party 8 (merged with DPJ in 2003), independents 6, 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 .84%; seats by party - LDP 237, DPJ 177, Komeito 34, JCP 9, SDP 6, NCP 4, others 13; distribution of seats as of 13 November 2003 was: LDP 244, DPJ 177, Komeito 34, JCP 9, SDP 6, others 10

elections: House of Councillors - last held 29 July 2001 (next to be held in July 2004); House of Representatives - last held 9 November 2003 (next election has not been scheduled)

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 [Naoto KAN, leader; Katsuya OKADA, 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; Shinzo ABE, secretary general]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA, chairperson; Seiji MATAICHI, secretary general]

Political pressure groups and leaders: NA

International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB, APEC, ARF (dialogue partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EBRD, ESCAP, 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, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMISET, UNMOVIC, UNRWA, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

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

Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Howard H. BAKER, Jr. embassy: 10-5 Akasaka 1-chome, 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 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. 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 much smaller 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 aftereffects of overinvestment during the late 1980s and contractionary domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Government efforts to revive economic growth have met with little success and were further hampered in 2000-2003 by the slowing of the US, European, and Asian economies. Japan's huge government debt, which is approaching 150% of GDP, and the ageing of the population are two major long-run problems. 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 - $3.651 trillion (2002 est.) GDP - real growth rate: 0.2% (2002 est.) GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $28,700 (2002 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1.4% industry: 30.9% services: 67.7% (2001 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): -0.9% (2002 est.)

Labor force: 67.7 million (December 2001) Labor force - by occupation: services 70%, industry 25%, agriculture 5% (2002 est.)

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (2002)

Budget: revenues: $441 billion expenditures: $718 billion, including capital expenditures (public works only) of about $0 NA (FY 01/02 est.)

Industries: Japan is 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: -1.4% (2002 est.)

Electricity - production: 1.037 trillion kWh (2001)

Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 60% hydro: 8.4% other: 1.8% (2001) nuclear: 29.8%

Electricity - consumption: 964.2 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)

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 (37257)

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 (37257)

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

Exports: $383.8 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Exports - commodities: motor vehicles, semiconductors, office machinery, chemicals

Exports - partners: US 28.8%, China 9.6%, South Korea 6.9%, Taiwan 6.2%, Hong Kong 6.1% (2002)

Imports: $292.1 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials (2001)

Imports - partners: China 18.3%, US 17.4%, South Korea 4.6%, Indonesia 4.2%, Australia 4.1% (2002)

Debt - external: $NA

Economic aid - donor: ODA, $9.1 billion (1999)

Currency: yen (JPY)

Currency code: JPY

Exchange rates: yen per US dollar - 125.39 (2002), 121.53 (2001), 107.77 (2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Communications Japan

Telephones - main lines in use: 60.381 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 63.88 million (2000)

Telephone system: general assessment: excellent domestic and international service domestic: high level of modern technology and excellent service of every kind international: 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 note: in addition, US Forces are served by 3 TV stations and 2 TV cable services (1999)

Internet country code: .jp

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 73 (2000)

Internet users: 56 million (2002)

Transportation Japan

Railways: total: 23,168 km (15,995 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); 19,855 km 1.067-m gauge (12,683 km electrified); 31 km 0.762-m gauge (31 km electrified) (2002)

Highways: total: 1,161,894 km paved: 534,471 km (including 6,455 km of expressways) unpaved: 627,423 km (1999)

Waterways: 1,770 km approximately note: seagoing craft ply all coastal inland seas

Pipelines: gas 2,719 km; oil 170 km; oil/gas/water 60 km (2003)

Ports and harbors: Akita, Amagasaki, Chiba, Hachinohe, Hakodate, Higashi-Harima, Himeji, Hiroshima, Kawasaki, Kinuura, Kobe, Kushiro, Mizushima, Moji, Nagoya, Osaka, Sakai, Sakaide, Shimizu, Tokyo, Tomakomai

Merchant marine: total: 594 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 10,467,142 GRT/13,335,833 DWT ships by type: bulk 120, cargo 45, chemical tanker 18, combination bulk 28, combination ore/oil 1, container 18, liquefied gas 52, passenger 8, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 179, refrigerated cargo 9, roll on/roll off 59, short-sea passenger 6, vehicle carrier 49 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: China 1, Panama 1, Singapore 1 (2002 est.)

Airports: 172 (2002)

Airports - with paved runways: total: 141 over 3,047 m: 7 2,438 to 3,047 m: 37 914 to 1,523 m: 27 under 914 m: 32 (2002) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 38

Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 31 over 3047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 under 914 m: 26 (2002) 914 to 1,523 m: 3

Heliports: 15 (2002)

Military Japan

Military branches:

Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy), Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force), Coast Guard

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2003 est.)

Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 29,392,559 (2003 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 25,405,779 (2003 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 725,281 (2003 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $39.52 billion (FY02)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1% (FY02)

Transnational Issues Japan

Disputes - international: islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan, and the Habomai group occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, claimed by Japan; Liancourt Rocks (Take-shima/Tok-do) disputed with South Korea; Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Tai) claimed by China and Taiwan

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2003

Japan Facts and Figures Resources

CIA World Factbook - Japan - CIA World Factbook - Japan - USA Government information resource on Japan Geography, History, Politics and Religion.

Japan, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Japan, Article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

JAPAN - A Country Study - JAPAN - A Country Study. Library of Congress Country Study.

Japan; Facts and Information. The Japanese People and Culture


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