[Country map of Japan]



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

Map references: Asia

total area: 377,835 sq km
land area: 374,744 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than California
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okinotori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 29,751 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm; 3 nm in the international straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait

International disputes: islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, claimed by Japan; Liancourt Rocks disputed with South Korea; Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands) claimed by China and Taiwan

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

Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous

Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish

Land use:
arable land: 13%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 67%
other: 18%

Irrigated land: 28,680 sq km (1989)

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's appetite for fish and tropical timber is contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere
natural hazards: many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; tsunamis
international agreements: party to - Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea

Note: strategic location in northeast Asia


Population: 125,506,492 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 16% (female 9,955,603; male 10,542,973)
15-64 years: 69% (female 43,377,425; male 43,843,645)
65 years and over: 15% (female 10,514,017; male 7,272,829) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.32% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 10.66 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.46 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.44 years
male: 76.6 years
female: 82.42 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.56 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Japanese

Ethnic divisions: Japanese 99.4%, other 0.6% (mostly Korean)

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

Languages: Japanese

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1970 est.)
total population: 99%

Labor force: 65.87 million (December 1994)
by occupation: trade and services 54%, manufacturing, mining, and construction 33%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 7%, government 3% (1988)


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Japan

Digraph: JA

Type: constitutional monarchy

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, Yamanashi

Independence: 660 BC (traditional founding by Emperor Jimmu)

National holiday: Birthday of the Emperor, 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)
head of government: Prime Minister Tomiichi MURAYAMA (since 30 June 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Yohei KONO (since 30 June 1994)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the prime minister

Legislative branch: bicameral Diet (Kokkai) consists of an upper house or House of Councillors and a lower house or House of Representatives
House of Councillors (Sangi-in): half of the members elected every three years to six-year terms; elections last held on 26 July 1992 (next set to be held 23 July 1995); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (252 total) LDP 106, SDPJ 73, Komeito 24, DSP 12, JCP 11, JNP 4, others 16, independents 6; note - the distribution of seats as of 1 April 1995 is as follows - LDP 94, SDPJ 68, Heisei-kai 47, Shin Ryokufu-kai 16, JCP 11, others 15, vacant 1
House of Representatives (Shugi-in): all members elected every four years to four-year terms; elections last held on 18 July 1993 (next to be held by 1997); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (511 total) LDP 223, SDPJ 70, Shinseito 55, Komeito 51, JNP 35, JCP 15, DSP 15, Sakigake 13, others 4, independents 30; note - the distribution of seats as of 1 April 1995 is as follows - LDP 207, Shinshinto 173, SDPJ 70, Sakigake 21, JCP 15, others 19, vacant 6

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Yohei KONO, president and Yoshiro MORI, secretary general; Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ), Tomiichi MURAYAMA; Japan Communist Party (JCP), Tetsuzo FUWA, Presidium chairman; Sakigake (Harbinger), Masayoshi TAKEMURA, chairman; Shinshinto (New Frontier Party, NFP), Toshiki KAIFU, chairman and Ichiro OZAWA, secretary general
note: Shinshinto was formed in December 1994 by the merger of Shinseito (Japan Renewal Party, JRP), Komeito (Clean Government Party, CGP), Japan New Party (JNP), Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), and several minor groups; Shin Ryokufu-kai is a parliamentary alliance which exists only in the upper house, it includes remnants of Shinseito, JNP, DSP, and a minor labor group; Heisei-kai is a joint bloc of Shinshinto and Komei members; Komei is a group formed from what remains of Komeito in the upper house


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Takakazu KURIYAMA
chancery: 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6700
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187
consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City (Missouri), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, and Seattle
consulate(s): Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands)

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Walter F. MONDALE
embassy: 10-5, Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku (107), Tokyo
mailing address: Unit 45004, Box 258, Tokyo; APO AP 96337-0001
telephone: [81] (3) 3224-5000
FAX: [81] (3) 3505-1862
consulate(s) general: Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo
consulate(s): Fukuoka, Nagoya

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


Overview: Government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (roughly 1% of GDP) have helped Japan advance with extraordinary rapidity to the rank of second most powerful economy in the world. Industry, the most important sector of the economy, is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. 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. Overall economic growth has been spectacular: a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s and 1980s. Economic growth came to a halt in 1992-93 largely because of contractionary domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Growth resumed at a 0.6% pace in 1994 largely because of consumer demand. As for foreign trade, the stronger yen and slower global growth are containing export growth. Unemployment and inflation remain remarkably low in comparison with the other industrialized nations. Japan continues to run a huge trade surplus - $121 billion in 1994, roughly the same size as in 1993 - which supports extensive investment in foreign assets. Prime Minister MURAYAMA has yet to formalize his government's plans for administrative and economic reform, including reduction in the trade surplus. As leader of a coalition government, he has softened his own socialist positions. The crowding of the habitable land area and the aging of the population are two major long-run problems.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $2.5274 trillion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 0.6% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $20,200 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.7% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 2.9% (1994)

revenues: $569 billion
expenditures: $671 billion, including capital expenditures (public works only) of about $126 billion (1994 est.)

Exports: $395.5 billion (f.o.b., 1994)
commodities: manufactures 97% (including machinery 46%, motor vehicles 20%, consumer electronics 10%)
partners: Southeast Asia 33%, US 29%, Western Europe 18%, China 5%

Imports: $274.3 billion (c.i.f., 1994)
commodities: manufactures 52%, fossil fuels 20%, foodstuffs and raw materials 28%
partners: Southeast Asia 25%, US 23%, Western Europe 15%, China 9%

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate 1% (1994); accounts for 30% of GDP

capacity: 205,140,000 kW
production: 840 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 6,262 kWh (1993)

Industries: steel and non-ferrous metallurgy, heavy electrical equipment, construction and mining equipment, motor vehicles and parts, electronic and telecommunication equipment and components, machine tools and automated production systems, locomotives and railroad rolling stock, shipbuilding, chemicals, textiles, food processing

Agriculture: accounts for only 2% of GDP; highly subsidized and protected sector, with crop yields among highest in world; principal crops - rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit; animal products include pork, poultry, dairy and eggs; about 50% self-sufficient in food production; shortages of wheat, corn, soybeans; world's largest fish catch of 10 million metric tons in 1991

Economic aid:
donor: ODA and OOF commitments (1970-94), $132 billion
note: ODA outlay of $9.9 billion in 1994 (est.)

Currency: yen (Y)

Exchange rates: yen (Y) per US$1 - 99.75 (January 1995), 102.21 (1994), 111.20 (1993), 126.65 (1992), 134.71 (1991), 144.79 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


total: 27,327 km (5,724 km double track and multitrack sections)
standard gauge: 2,012 km 1.435-m gauge (2,012 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 25,315 km predominantly 1.067-m gauge (9,038 km electrified) (1987)

total: 1,111,974 km
paved: 754,102 km (including 4,869 km of national expressways)
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone, or earth 357,872 km (1991)

Inland waterways: about 1,770 km; seagoing craft ply all coastal inland seas

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

Ports: 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: 851 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 18,195,386 GRT/27,292,044 DWT
ships by type: bulk 210, cargo 63, chemical tanker 7, combination ore/oil 7, container 41, liquefied gas tanker 41, multifunction large-load carrier 1, oil tanker 264, passenger 10, passenger-cargo 5, refrigerated cargo 48, roll-on/roll-off cargo 43, short-sea passenger 30, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 79
note: Japan owns an additional 1,537 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 45,490,202 DWT that operate under Panamanian, Liberian, Vanuatu, Bahamian, Singaporian, Cypriot, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Maltese registry

total: 175
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 6
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 31
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 36
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 30
with paved runways under 914 m: 70
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2


Telephone system: 64,000,000 telephones; excellent domestic and international service
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 5 INTELSAT (4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) earth stations; submarine cables to US (via Guam), Philippines, China, and Russia

broadcast stations: AM 318, FM 58, shortwave 0
radios: 95 million

broadcast stations: 12,350 (1 kW or greater 196)
televisions: 100 million

Defense Forces

Branches: Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (Army), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Navy), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Air Force)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 31,947,532; males fit for military service 27,494,758; males reach military age (18) annually 910,970 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $47.2 billion, 1% of GDP (FY95/96)