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Introduction Japan
While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan rapidly absorbed Western technology during 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 US. While emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, actual power rests in networks of powerful politicians, bureaucrats, and business executives. economy experienced a major slowdown starting in 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth.
Geography Japan
Eastern Asia, island chain between North Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan, east of Korean Peninsula
Geographic coordinates:
36 00 N, 138 00 E
Map references:
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
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 international straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of Korea or Tsushima Strait
varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
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 largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to 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 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
People Japan
Total 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
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:
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.)
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)
observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 99% (1995 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Japan
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Japan
Government type:
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
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
660 BC (traditional founding by Emperor Jimmu)
National holiday:
Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)
3 May 1947
Legal system:
modeled after European civil law system with English-American influence; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
20 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)
note: following resignation of Prime Minister Yoshiro MORI, Junichiro KOIZUMI previously elected as new president of majority Liberal Democratic Party and soon thereafter designated by Diet to become next prime minister
elections: none; monarch is hereditary; Diet designates prime minister; constitution requires that prime minister must command a parliamentary majority; therefore, following legislative elections, leader of majority party or leader of a majority coalition in House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by prime minister
head of government: Prime Minister Junichiro KOIZUMI (since 26 April 2001)
Legislative branch:
bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of 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 previously : 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 previously : 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 monarch after designation by cabinet; all other justices are appointed by 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:
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 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 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 sun without rays) in center
Economy Japan
Economy - overview:
Government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively limited defense allocation (1% of GDP) helped Japan advance with extraordinary rapidity to rank of second-most-technologically-powerful economy in world after US and third-largest economy after US and China. One notable characteristic of economy is working together of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors in closely-knit groups called keiretsu. A second basic feature has been guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of urban labor force. Both features are now eroding. Industry, most important sector of economy, is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. much smaller agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among highest in world. Usually self-sufficient in rice, Japan must import about 50% of its requirements of other grain and fodder crops. Japan maintains one of world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of globel catch. For three decades overall real economic growth had been spectacular: a 10% average in 1960s, a 5% average in 1970s, and a 4% average in 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in 1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of aftereffects of overinvestment during late 1980s and contractionary domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from stock and real estate markets. Government efforts to revive economic growth have met with little success and were further hampered in 2000-2003 by slowing of US, European, and Asian economies. Japan's huge government debt, which is approaching 150% of GDP, and ageing of population are two major long-run problems. Robotics constitutes a key long-term economic strength with Japan possessing 410,000 of world's 720,000 "working robots." Internal conflict over proper way to reform ailing banking system continues.
buying power parity - $3.651 trillion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0.2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying 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:
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)
revenues: $441 billion
expenditures: $718 billion, includes capital expenditures (public works only) of about $0 NA (FY 01/02 est.)
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
$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)
$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:
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $9.1 billion (1999)
yen (JPY)
Currency code:
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)
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)
86.5 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
73 (2000)
Internet users:
56 million (2002)
Transportation Japan
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)
total: 1,161,894 km
paved: 534,471 km (including 6,455 km of expressways)
unpaved: 627,423 km (1999)
1,770 km approximately
note: seagoing craft ply all coastal inland seas
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.)
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
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 Habomai group occupied by 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