Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, People’s Republic of China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south.
Map of Japan:
History of Japan
A Paleolithic culture around 30,000 BC constitutes the first known habitation of Japan. This was followed from around 14,000 BC by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture, who include ancestors of both the contemporary Ainu people and Yamato people, characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture.
Politics of Japan
Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people”. Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people.
Geography of Japan
Japan has a total of 6,852 islands extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. The country, including all of the islands it controls, lies between latitudes 24° and 46°N, and longitudes 122° and 146°E. The main islands, from north to south, are Hokkaidō, Honshū, Shikoku and Kyūshū. The Ryūkyū Islands, including Okinawa, are a chain to the south of Kyūshū
Economy of Japan
Some of the structural features for Japan’s economic growth developed in the Edo period, such as the network of transport routes, by road and water, and the futures contracts, banking and insurance of the Osaka rice brokers. During the Meiji period from 1868, Japan expanded economically with the embrace of the market economy. Many of today’s enterprises were founded at the time, and Japan emerged as the most developed nation in Asia.
Science and technology in Japan
Japan is a leading nation in scientific research, particularly technology, machinery and biomedical research. Nearly 700,000 researchers share a US$130 billion research and development budget, the third largest in the world. Japan is a world leader in fundamental scientific research, having produced fifteen Nobel laureates in either physics, chemistry or medicine, three Fields medalists, and one Gauss Prize laureate.
Energy in Japan
As of 2008, 46.4 percent of energy in Japan is produced from petroleum, 21.4 percent from coal, 16.7 percent from natural gas, 9.7 percent from nuclear power, and 2.9 percent from hydro power. Nuclear power produces 22.5 percent of Japan’s electricity. Given its heavy dependence on imported energy, Japan has aimed to diversify its sources and maintain high levels of energy efficiency.
Religion in Japan
Upper estimates suggest that 84–96 percent of the Japanese population subscribe to Buddhism or Shinto, including a large number of followers of a syncretism of both religions.
Education in Japan
Primary schools, secondary schools and universities were introduced in 1872 as a result of the Meiji Restoration. Since 1947, compulsory education in Japan comprises elementary and middle school, which together last for nine years.. Almost all children continue their education at a three-year senior high school, and, according to the MEXT, as of 2005 about 75.9 percent of high school graduates attend a university, junior college, trade school, or other higher education institution.
Sport in Japan
Traditionally, sumo is considered Japan’s national sport. Japanese martial arts such as judo, karate and kendo are also widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country. After the Meiji Restoration, many Western sports were introduced in Japan and began to spread through the education system. Japan hosted the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 1964. Japan has hosted the Winter Olympics twice: Nagano in 1998 and Sapporo in 1972.