From Virtual Japan
Japan (日本) is an Eastern Asian island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula. It consists of the main islands Hokkaido (北海道), Honshu (本州), Shikoku(四国), Kyushu (九州) and Okinawa (沖縄) - along with 3,000 smaller islands. The largest city in Japan is Tokyo.
Geography and Weather
- Land mass is slightly smaller than California.
- Weather ranges from tropical in south to temperate in north.
- Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
- Chief of State is Emperor Akihito (since 1/7/1989)
- Head of government is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (since 9/26/2006)
- Cabinet is appointed by the Prime Minister, who is designated by the Diet (the legislative branch); 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.
- 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)
- Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the monarch after designation by the cabinet; all other justices are appointed by the cabinet)
- The main political parties are Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ; Japan Communist Party or JCP; Komeito; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP; Social Democratic Party or SDP
- Country is divided into 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, and Yamanashi
- Voting age is 20 years old for all citizens
Map of Japan
- Population: 127,463,611 (July 2006 estimate, World Factbook)
- Ethnic groups: Japanese 99%, others 1% (Korean 511,262, Chinese 244,241, Brazilian 182,232, Filipino 89,851, other 237,914) 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)
- Religions: both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)
As of 1998, Japan was the 32nd most visited country by tourists in the world - a relatively low rank considering its wealth and population. Japan runs a tourism deficit, as more Japanese visit abroad than foreigners visit Japan. According to Japanese government statistics, in 2002 16.8 million Japanese went on holiday abroad, while only 6 million foreign tourists visited Japan. Tourists come to Japan for a variety of reasons, including sightseeing, skiing, shopping, and relaxation.
Japan National Tourist Organization Official Website
Popular Japan Articles by Category