Japan

Map

Japan Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous;

Natural Resources: negligible mineral resources, fish
note: with virtually no energy natural resources, Japan is the world’s largest importer of coal and liquefied natural gas, as well as the second largest importer of oil;

Natural Hazards: many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors but occasional severe earthquakes) every year; tsunamis; typhoons

volcanism: both Unzen (elev. 1,500 m) and Sakura-jima (elev. 1,117 m), which lies near the densely populated city of Kagoshima, have been deemed “Decade Volcanoes” by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Asama, Honshu Island’s most active volcano, Aso, Bandai, Fuji, Iwo-Jima, Kikai, Kirishima, Komaga-take, Oshima, Suwanosejima, Tokachi, Yake-dake, and Usu;

Population: 127,253,075 (July 2013 est.)

Factbook

Quick Facts About Japan

Population

126,804,433 (July 2010 est.)

Age Structure

0-14 years: 13.3% (male 8,665,440/female 8,212,680)
15-64 years: 64.1% (male 40,969,829/female 40,291,648)
65 years and over: 22.6% (male 12,163,028/female 16,501,808) (2010 est.)

Religions

Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8%
note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005)

Languages

Japanese

Internet Users

90.91 million (2008)

Country Name

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

Government Type

a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy

Capital

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

Military Branches

Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD): Ground Self-Defense Force (Rikujou Jietai, GSDF), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijou Jietai, MSDF), Air Self-Defense Force (Koku Jieitai, ASDF) (2009)

Dependency Status

*

Background

In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 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 an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan”s economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains a major economic power. In January 2009, Japan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term.

Area – Comparative

slightly smaller than California

Area

total: 377,915 sq km
land: 364,485 sq km
water: 13,430 sq km
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)

Terrain

mostly rugged and mountainous

Climate

varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Natural Hazards

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