ExchangeRate.com Logo
Login | Register |  My Account |   |   |   |  Suggest XR to your friends Print this page
Exchange Rate Home >> Country Info >> Japan

   | Post | View
Select Country:
  Japan   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

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 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 decisionmaking 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.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 88.43 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 690 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
430 cu km (1999)

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

Climate:
varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Map references:
Asia

Geographic coordinates:
36 00 N, 138 00 E

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m

Terrain:
mostly rugged and mountainous

Geography - note:
strategic location in northeast 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)

Location:
Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula

Coastline:
29,751 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than California

Irrigated land:
25,920 sq km (2003)

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

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

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

Land use:
arable land: 11.64%
permanent crops: 0.9%
other: 87.46% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.22 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
12,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 82.07 years
male: 78.73 years
female: 85.59 years (2008 est.)

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

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
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)

Median age:
total: 43.8 years
male: 42.1 years
female: 45.7 years (2008 est.)

Population:
127,288,416 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.5% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
-0.139% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Japanese

Death rate:
9.26 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
500 (2003 est.)

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

Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.7% (male 8,926,439/female 8,460,629)
15-64 years: 64.7% (male 41,513,061/female 40,894,057)
65 years and over: 21.6% (male 11,643,845/female 15,850,388) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
7.87 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)

Nationality:
noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Japanese

  Government Back To Top

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

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

Suffrage:
20 years of age; universal

Government type:
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: business groups; trade unions

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

International organization participation:
ADB, AfDB (nonregional members), 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

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; 146 members in multi-seat constituencies and 96 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 29 July 2007 (next to be held in July 2010); House of Representatives - last held 11 September 2005 (next election by September 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)

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

Flag description:
white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center

Independence:
660 B.C. (traditional founding by Emperor JIMMU)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Japan
local long form: Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku
local short form: Nihon/Nippon

Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ [Ichiro OZAWA]; Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]; Komeito [Akihiro OTA]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Taro ASO]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA]

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

Constitution:
3 May 1947

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

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the monarch after designation by the cabinet; all other justices are appointed by the cabinet)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 20.4%, China 15.3%, South Korea 7.6%, Taiwan 6.3%, Hong Kong 5.4% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
982.5 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
0.1% (19 December 2008)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$187.8 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$1.492 trillion (30 June 2007)

Unemployment rate:
4.2% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
240,000 bbl/day (2007)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$35,300 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
22.5% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$9.653 trillion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$4.487 trillion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$4.844 trillion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
38.1 (2002)

Exchange rates:
yen (JPY) per US dollar - 103.58 (2008 est.), 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006), 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
0.7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$4.37 trillion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
66.15 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
China 20.5%, US 11.6%, Saudi Arabia 5.7%, UAE 5.2%, Australia 5%, South Korea 4.4%, Indonesia 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.8% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 26.4%
services: 72.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
5.032 million bbl/day (2007)

Exports:
$776.8 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
100.3 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
yen (JPY)

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 the third-largest economy in the world after the US and China, measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. One notable characteristic of the economy has been how manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors have worked together 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 have now eroded. Japan's industrial sector 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 55% 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 overinvestment and an asset price bubble during the late 1980s that required a protracted period of time for firms to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor. In 2002-08, growth improved and the lingering fears of deflation in prices and economic activity lessened, leading the central bank to raise interest rates to 0.25% in July 2006, up from the near 0% rate of the six years prior, and to 0.75% in December 2007. In addition, 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 weathered the initial impact of the global credit crunch, but a sharp downturn in business investment and global demand for Japan's exports in late 2008 pushed Japan into a recession. Furthermore, Japan's huge government debt, which totals 170% of GDP, and the aging of the population are two major long-run problems. Some fear that a rise in taxes could endanger the current economic recovery. Debate also continues on the role of and effects of reform in restructuring the economy, particularly with respect to increasing income disparities.

Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $11.19 billion (2006)

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
1.68% (November 2008)

Stock of quasi money:
$4.783 trillion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
1.082 trillion kWh (2007 est.)

Imports:
$696.2 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
44.12 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 4.4%
industry: 27.9%
services: 66.4% (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
20.9 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$954.1 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Oil - consumption:
5.007 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$597 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
170.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$139.7 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$4.453 trillion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:
JPY

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.8%
highest 10%: 21.7% (1993)

Exports - commodities:
transport equipment, motor vehicles, semiconductors, electrical machinery, chemicals

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

Natural gas - imports:
95.62 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
3.729 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $1.672 trillion
expenditures: $1.823 trillion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Oil - production:
129,800 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
88.11 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
51.232 million (2007)

Televisions:
86.5 million (1997)

Internet country code:
.jp

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 215 (plus 370 repeaters), FM 89 (plus 485 repeaters), shortwave 21 (2001)

Radios:
120.5 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
107.339 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
211 (plus 7,341 repeaters); in addition, US Forces are served by 3 TV stations and 2 TV cable services (1999)

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; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and US; 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

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
73 (2000)

Internet hosts:
39.909 million (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Waterways:
1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2007)

Pipelines:
gas 3,939 km; oil 170 km; oil/gas/water 104 km (2007)

Railways:
total: 23,474 km
standard gauge: 3,204 km 1.435-m gauge (3,204 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 77 km 1.372-m gauge (77 km electrified); 20,182 km 1.067-m gauge (13,334 km electrified); 11 km 0.762-m gauge (11 km electrified) (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Chiba, Kawasaki, Kobe, Mizushima, Moji, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Tomakomai, Yohohama

Heliports:
14 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 683
by type: bulk carrier 136, cargo 30, carrier 3, chemical tanker 27, container 11, liquefied gas 59, passenger 12, passenger/cargo 135, petroleum tanker 156, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 51, vehicle carrier 61
registered in other countries: 3,074 (Australia 1, Bahamas 87, Belize 8, Bermuda 2, Burma 1, Cambodia 1, Cayman Islands 13, China 2, Cyprus 21, France 1, Honduras 4, Hong Kong 111, Indonesia 6, Isle of Man 6, Italy 1, South Korea 20, Liberia 116, Malaysia 4, Malta 8, Marshall Islands 17, Nigeria 1, Norway 29, Panama 2335, Philippines 81, Portugal 15, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Singapore 131, Thailand 4, UK 4, US 7, Vanuatu 29, Vietnam 1, unknown 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 145
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 40
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 29 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 1,196,999 km
paved: 949,101 km (includes 7,383 km of expressways)
unpaved: 247,898 km (2006)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 31
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 27 (2007)

Airports:
176 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 27,819,804
females age 16-49: 26,863,794 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 22.963 million
females age 16-49: 22,134,127 (2008 est.)

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) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 622,168
female: 590,153 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.8% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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/Dokdo) 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

Got something to say on this page? Feel free to post your comments ! Please limit your comments to discussions about the subject matter of the content. To report bugs or problems with the ExchangeRate.com web site, please use our contact form here. Thank You!

Quiz #2
  1. What famous canal was built at the narrowest point between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans?
  Atlantic-Pacific Canal
  Transcontinental Canal
  Panama Canal
  Erie Canal
Content, information, data, material, services, or products comprising this web-site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission from ExchangeRate.com Inc.. The information supplied by this web-site is believed to be accurate, but ExchangeRate.com Inc. does not warrant or guarantee such accuracy. Users are always advised to verify information with their financial and accounting advisors or with the appropriate government agencies before relying on any such information. Information contained in this web-site is intended for your personal, non-commercial use. All other uses are expressly unauthorized and prohibited to the maximum extent allowed by law.
Copyright © ExchangeRate.com Inc. 1998 - 2012