Sunny Wyers

 Wordpress Blog Frozen Ten Years

Menu Close

Category: Basic Facts (page 1 of 2)

Japan has a population of 127 million as of July 2009. It is the 11th-largest country in the world in terms of number of people.  Country name:local long form: Nihon-koku/Nippon-kokulocal short form: Nihon/NipponCapital:  TokyoGeographic coordinates: 35 41 N, 139 45 ETime difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time){rss items=”3″}{/rss}


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)

Military service age and obligation:

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001) Read more

Overview of the Japanese Economy

In the years following World War II, 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 speed to the rank of second most technologically powerful economy in the world after the United States

Today, measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, Japan is the third-largest economy in the world after the US and China. Two notable characteristic of the post-war 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 labor force. Both features are now eroding under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.

Japan’s industrial sector is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. A tiny agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among the highest in the world. Usually self sufficient in rice, Japan imports about 60% of its food on a caloric basis. 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 inefficient investment and an asset price bubble in the late 1980s that required a protracted period of time for firms to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor.

In October 2007 Japan’s longest post-war period of economic expansion ended after 69 months and Japan entered into recession in 2008, with 2009 marking a return to near 0% interest rates. The 10-year privatization of Japan Post, which has functioned not only as the national postal delivery system but also, through its banking and insurance facilities as Japan’s largest financial institution, was completed in October 2007, marking a major milestone in the process of structural reform.

The Japanese financial sector was not heavily exposed to sub-prime mortgages or their derivative instruments and weathered the initial effect of the global credit crunch, but a sharp downturn in business investment and global demand for Japan’s exports in late 2008 pushed Japan further into a recession. Japan’s huge government debt, which totals 170% of GDP, and the aging of the population are two major long-run problems. Debate continues on the role of and effects of reform in restructuring the economy.

Introduction to Japanese Government

Country name: Nihon-koku / Nippon-koku
Local short form: Nihon/Nippon

Government type: a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy

Administrative divisions: 47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gunma, 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 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU; first recognized by Emperor Meiji in 1873)

National holiday: Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)

Constitution: 3 May 1947

Legal system: modeled after German 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 Taro ASO (since 24 September 2008)
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; monarch is hereditary

Legislative branch: bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House of Councillors or Sangi-in (242 seats – members elected for fixed six-year terms; half reelected every three years; 146 members in multi-seat constituencies and 96 by proportional representation) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (480 seats – members elected for maximum four-year terms; 300 in single-seat constituencies; 180 members by proportional representation in 11 regional blocs); the prime minister has the right to dissolve the House of Representatives at any time with the concurrence of the cabinet.

Elections: House of Councillors – last held 29 July 2007 (next to be held in July 2010); House of Representatives – last held 11 September 2005 (next election by October 2009)

Election results: House of Councillors – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – DPJ 109, LDP 83, Komeito 20, JCP 7, SDP 5, others 18
House of Representatives – percent of vote by party (in single-seat constituencies) – LDP 47.8%, DPJ 36.4%, others 15.8%; seats by party – LDP 296, DPJ 113, Komeito 31, JCP 9, SDP 7, others 24 (2007)

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 [Yukio HATOYAMA]; Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]; Komeito [Akihiro OTA]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Taro ASO]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA]

Political pressure groups and leaders business groups; trade unions

International organization participation: ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA, MIGA, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ichiro FUJISAKI
Chancery: 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 238-6700. FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187
Consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Agana (Guam), Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Seattle
Consulate(s): Anchorage, Nashville

Diplomatic representation from the US:   
Chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires James P. ZUMWALT
Embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
Mailing address: Unit 9800, Box 300, APO AP 96303-0300
Telephone: [81] (03) 3224-5000. FAX: [81] (03) 3505-1862
Consulate(s) general: Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo
Consulate(s): Fukuoka, Nagoya

Japanese Population: Numbers, Rates and Statistics

Population: 127,078,679 (July 2009 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 11

Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.5% (male 8,804,465/female 8,344,800)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 41,187,425/female 40,533,876)
65 years and over: 22.2% (male 11,964,694/female 16,243,419)

Median age: total: 44.2 years
male: 42.4 years. female: 46.1 years (2009 estimate)

Population growth rate: -0.191% (2009 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 219

Birth rate: 7.64 births/1,000 population (2009 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 223

Death rate: 9.26 deaths/1,000 population (2008 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 72

Urbanization: urban population: 66% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 estimate)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 estimate)

Infant mortality rate: total: 2.79 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 221
male: 2.99 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 estimate)

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 82.12 years
country comparison to the world: 3
male: 78.8 years, female: 85.62 years (2009 estimate)

Total fertility rate: 1.21 children born/woman (2009 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 218

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2003 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 153

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,600 (2007 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 107

HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 100 (2007 estimate)
country comparison to the world: 143

Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
* 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: Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8%
*Total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005)

Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%. male: 99%. female: 99% (2002)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years. male: 15 years. female: 15 years (2006)

Education expenditures: 3.5% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 128

History of Japan in 300 Words or Less

In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture.

Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US 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 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 a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians – with heavy input from bureaucrats and business executives – wield actual decision-making power.

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 January 2009, Japan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term.

Read more