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Flag of Japan
Japan (hi-no-maru)

Country Profile

Capital City: Tokyo

Other Cities: Chiba, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai, Yokohama.

Local Time: UTC +9h

Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan (East Sea), east of the Korean Peninsula.
Area: 377 864 sq. km. (145 902 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Rugged, mountainous islands.

Climate: Varies from subtropical to temperate.

Type: Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government.
Constitution: 3 May 1947.
Independence: 660 BC (traditional founding by Emperor Jimmu, held as official dogma until 1945.)

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Japanese.
Population: 128 million.
Ethnic groups: Japanese.
Religions: Shinto and Buddhist.
Language: Japanese (Nihongo)
Literacy: 99%.


Currency: Yen (JPY)

Natural resources: Negligible mineral resources, fish.

Agriculture products: Rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit, pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs, fish.

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.

Exports partners:

USA 24.8%, China 12.1%, South Korea 7.3%, Taiwan 6.6%, Hong Kong 6.3% (2003)

Imports partners: China 19.7%, USA 15.6%, South Korea 4.7%, Indonesia 4.3% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Japan

The Imperial Household Agency

Japans National Diet


Kantei of the Prime Minister

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations

Embassy of Japan

Japan Embassies and Consulates Abroad

Foreign Embassies and Consulates in Japan

Visa for Japan


Statistics Bureau & Statistics Center


Map of Japan

Reference map East Asia

Reference map of Asia



Background:  While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan rapidly
absorbed Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th
centuries. After its devastating defeat in World War II, Japan recovered
to become the second most powerful economy in the world 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 in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth.

Geography Japan

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 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
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

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:
Fujiyama 3,776 m

Natural resources:  negligible mineral resources, fish

Land use:  arable land: 12% permanent crops: 1% other: 87% (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, 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 signed, but
not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note:  strategic location in northeast Asia

People Japan

Population:  126,974,628 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:   14.5% (male 9,465,282; female 8,999,888) 15-64 years:
(male 9,664,112; female 13,231,914) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.15% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  10.03 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  8.53 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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:
0.73 male(s)/female total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  3.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   84.25 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.42 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.02% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  10,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  150 (1999 est.)

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

Ethnic groups:  Japanese 99%, others 1% (Korean 51,126, Chinese 24,424,
Brazilian 18,223, Filipino 8,995, other 23,792) (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% (1970 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

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,

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:  Junichiro KOIZUMI (since 24 April 2001)

Legislative branch:  bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House
of Councillors or Sangi-in (247 seats - formerly 252; one-half of the
members elected every three years - 73 seats of which are elected from
the 47 multi-seat prefectural districts and 48 of which are elected from a
single nationwide list; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year
terms) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (480 seats - 180 of
which are elected from 11 regional blocks on a proportional representation
basis and 300 of which are elected from 300 single-seat districts; members
elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) 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; note - the distribution of seats as of January 2002 is:
6, others 6; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%;
seats by party - LDP 233, DPJ 127, Komeito 31, Liberal Party 22, JCP 20,
SDP 19, other 28; note - the distribution of seats as of January 2002
is:  other 13 elections: House of Councillors - last held 29 July 2001
(next to be held NA July 2004); House of Representatives - last held 25
June 2000 (next must be held by June 2004, but may occur sooner)

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, leader, Naoto KAN, secretary general]; Japan Communist Party or
JCP [Tetsuzo FUWA, chairman, Tadayeshi ICHIDA, secretary general]; Komeito
[Takenori KANZAKI, president, Tetsuzo FUYUSHIBA, secretary general];
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Junichiro KOIZUMI, president, Taku
YAMASAKI, secretary general]; Liberal Party [Ichiro OZAWA, president,
Hirohisa FUJII, secretary general]; New Conservative Party or NCP
[Takeshi NODA, president, Toshihiro NIKAI, secretary general]; Social
Democratic Party or SDP [Takako DOI, chairperson, Mizuho FUKUSHIMA,
secretary general]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  AfDB, APEC, ARF (dialogue
partner), AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE
(observer), CERN (observer), CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G- 5, G- 7, G- 8,
IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest),
NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Ryozo
KATO FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187
 Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands) consulate(s) general:  Honolulu,
 Houston, Kansas City (Missouri), Los Angeles, Miami,
New Orleans, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, and Seattle
 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 telephone:
Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Howard H. BAKER, Jr.  embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
mailing address: Unit 45004, Box 205, APO AP 96337-5004 telephone: [81]
(03) 3224-5000 FAX: [81] (03) 3505-1862
 Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo consulate(s):
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) have 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 in the world
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 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 2000-01 by the slowing of the US and Asian economies. The crowding
of habitable land area and the aging 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".

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $3.45 trillion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  -0.3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $27,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 2% industry: 36% services: 62%
(2000 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):  -0.6% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  67.7 million (December 2000)

Labor force - by occupation:  services 65%, industry 30%, agriculture 5%

Unemployment rate:  4.9% (2001)

Budget:  revenues: $441 billion expenditures: $718 billion, including
capital expenditures (public works only) of about $84 billion (FY01/02

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

Industrial production growth rate:  -8.3% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  1.015 trillion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 60.69% hydro: 8.54%
other: 1.82% (2000) nuclear: 28.95%

Electricity - consumption:  943.71 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $404.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Exports - partners:  US 29.7%, Taiwan 7.5%, South Korea 6.4%, China 6.3%,
Hong Kong 5.7% (2000 est.)

Imports:  $331.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, office

Imports - partners:  US 19%, China 14.5%, South Korea 5.4%, Taiwan 4.7%,
Indonesia 4.3%, Australia 3.9% (2000 est.)

Debt - external:  $NA

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

Currency:  yen (JPY)

Currency code:  JPY

Exchange rates:  yen per US dollar - 132.66 (January 2002), 121.53
(2001), 107.77 (2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998), 120.99 (1997)

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)

Radios:  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

Televisions:  86.5 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .jp

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  73 (2000)

Internet users:  47.08 million (2001)

Transportation Japan

Railways:  total: 23,654 km (15,895 km electrified) standard gauge: 3,059
km 1.435-m gauge (entirely electrified) narrow gauge: 77 km 1.372-m gauge
(entirely electrified); 20,491 km 1.067-m gauge (12,732 km electrified);
27 km 0.762-m gauge (entirely electrified) (2000)

Highways:  total: 1,152,207 km paved: 863,003 km (including 6,114 km of
expressways) unpaved: 289,204 km (1997 est.)

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

Pipelines:  crude oil 84 km; petroleum products 322 km; natural gas
1,800 km

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: 615 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 10,995,839
GRT/14,405,159 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered
here as a flag of
 China 1, Panama 1, Singapore 1 (2002 est.)  ships by type:  ore/oil 3,
 container 19, liquefied gas 50, passenger 9, passenger/cargo
2, petroleum tanker 189, refrigerated cargo 13, roll on/roll off 48,
short-sea passenger 6, vehicle carrier 54

Airports:  173 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 142 over 3,047 m: 7 2,438 to
3,047 m: 37 914 to 1,523 m: 30 under 914 m: 31 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 37

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 31 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 3 under 914 m: 27 (2001)

Heliports:  16 (2001)

Military Japan

Military branches:  Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Japan Maritime
Self-Defense Force (Navy), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force),
Japanese Coast Guard

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 29,644,498 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 25,637,387
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 765,817
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $40,774,300,000 (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1% (FY01)

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
(Takeshima/Tokdo) disputed with South Korea; Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Tai)
claimed by China and Taiwan

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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