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- INTRODUCE JAPAN -

Japan Country Profile 日本のご紹介

 
kokki_jap.jpg 
Complete coverage on Japan

http://junichikawagoe.blog109.fc2.com/blog-entry-2258.html


Japan country profile

Map of Japan

Japan has the world's third-largest economy, having achieved remarkable growth in the second half of the 20th Century after the devastation of World War II.

Its role in the international community is considerable. It is a major aid donor and a source of global capital and credit.

More than three quarters of the population live in sprawling cities on the coastal fringes of Japan's four mountainous, wooded islands.

OVERVIEW

Japan's rapid post-war expansion - propelled by highly successful car and consumer electronics industries - ran out of steam by the 1990s.

The 1997 Asian financial crisis, and bouts of recession, precipitated major banking, public spending and private sector reforms.

Japan remains a traditional society with strong social and employment hierarchies - Japanese men have tended to work for the same employer throughout their working lives.

But this and other traditions are under pressure as a young generation more in tune with Western culture and ideas grows up.

AT-A-GLANCE
"Golden Pavilion" Kinkakuji Temple in Japan's former capital, Kyoto
Politics: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was in power for much of the country's post-war history. It was ousted in 2009 by the Democratic Party
Economy: Japan has the world's third-largest economy; its multinationals are household names
International: There has been tension with China and South Korea over Japan's wartime past; Japanese troops have served in Iraq

Japan's relations with its neighbours are still heavily influenced by the legacy of Japanese actions before and during World War II. Japan has found it difficult to accept and atone for its treatment of the citizens of countries it occupied.

A Japanese court caused outrage by overturning a compensation order for Korean women forced to work as sex slaves.

South Korea and China have also protested that Japanese school history books gloss over atrocities committed by the Japanese military. Japan has said China promotes an anti-Japanese view of history.

Following World War II, lawmakers forged a pacifist constitution.

But the deployment of Japanese troops in Iraq following the US-led invasion in 2003 divided public opinion and sparked claims that the move was unconstitutional.

Twenty percent of the world's earthquakes take place in Japan, which sits on the boundaries of at least three tectonic plates. Schools and office workers regularly take part in earthquake drills, and waiting for "the big one" is deeply engrained in the national psyche.

FACTS

  • Full name: Japan
  • Population: 126.9 million (UN, 2010)
  • Capital: Tokyo
  • Area: 377,864 sq km (145,894 sq miles)
  • Major language: Japanese
  • Major religions: Shintoism, Buddhism
  • Life expectancy: 80 years (men), 87 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: yen
  • Main exports: Vehicles, computer parts, chemicals, scientific instruments and watches
  • GNI per capita: US $37,870 (World Bank, 2009)
  • Internet domain: .jp
  • International dialling code: +81

LEADERS

Head of state: Emperor Akihito

Akihito succeeded his father, Hirohito, in 1989. Under the 1947 constitution, Japan's emperors have a purely ceremonial role.

Prime minister: Naoto Kan

Naoto Kan became prime minister in June 2010, following the resignation of Yukio Hatoyama amid a damaging dispute over a US air base.

Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan
Naoto Kan exposed government culpability in a tainted blood scandal

A former leftist activist, Mr Kan is Japan's fifth premier in four years, and the first in over a decade not to hail from a political dynasty.

Mr Hatoyama's government, in which Mr Kan served as deputy PM, came to power in a groundbreaking election in 2009 which saw the centre-left Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) end decades of rule by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party.

But Mr Hatoyama's support plummeted after he backtracked on an election promise to move the unpopular US base off Okinawa, enraging locals as well as the pacifist Social Democrats, who quit his coalition.

Mr Kan said he would honour an agreement to relocate the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa.

But soon after he became PM, his government lost its majority in the upper house of parliament in July elections. The defeat meant it would need opposition support in the upper house to pass some legislation.

The loss was blamed on comments by Mr Kan suggesting that Japan's 5% sales tax be doubled. In September, however, he survived a leadership challenge from the DPJ's veteran power-broker, Ichiro Ozawa.

The same month, Mr Kan's poll ratings were hit by the decision to free a Chinese trawler captain arrested in disputed waters, in what was widely seen as a diplomatic defeat.

Mr Kan, the son of a factory manager and a graduate of applied sciences, campaigned in the 1970s for pacifist and environmental causes and entered parliament with a leftist party in 1980. He help to found the then-opposition Democratic Party in 1996.

He achieved popularity in the mid-1990s when as health minister he brought to light government culpability in a scandal over HIV-tainted blood products. In January 2010, Mr Kan, took over as finance minister.

MEDIA

Japan's broadcasting scene is advanced and vibrant, with established public and commercial outlets competing for audiences.

Japanese newspaper readers
Some 80% of Japanese read newspapers every day

There are five national terrestrial TV companies, including the public broadcaster NHK which also runs national radio networks. Most of NHK's funding comes from the licence fees paid by viewers.

Many millions of viewers subscribe to satellite and cable pay TV. Japan spearheaded the roll-out of high-definition (HD) TV. A digital TV switchover - terrestrial and satellite - will be completed in 2011.

News, drama, variety shows and sport - especially baseball - all garner large audiences. Imported TV shows are not staple fare on the main networks, but Western influences are apparent in home-made programmes.

Japan was years ahead of the US and Europe in pioneering reality TV, in which ordinary people are placed in extraordinary situations.

Newspaper readership is very high, with some 80% of Japanese reading a paper every day. National dailies sell in their millions, boosted by afternoon and evening editions. An increasing number of newspapers charge access fees for their websites.

Around 99 million people were online by 2010 (InternetWorldStats). Homegrown networks, led by Mixi, dominate the social networking scene. Around 75% of users access social networks via mobile technology, which is advanced and ubiquitous.

The press

Television

  • NHK - public, operates the General TV, Educational TV channels. NHK also runs satellite channels BS-1 and BS-2 and high-definition TV (HDTV) network Digital Hi-Vision. NHK World is the organisation's international English-language channel.
  • TV Asahi - national commercial network
  • Fuji TV - national commercial network
  • Nippon TV (NTV) - national commercial network
  • Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) - national commercial network

Radio

  • NHK - public, operates news/speech-based Radio 1, cultural/educational network Radio 2, classical music-based network FM Radio, external service Radio Japan
  • Inter FM - Tokyo commercial music station
  • J-Wave - Tokyo commercial music station
  • Tokyo FM - Tokyo-based commercial network
  • TBS Radio - network operated by Tokyo Broadcasting System

News agency/internet


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