By: Silvia Tinelli

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Basic Facts:

  • Population: 126,919,659 (July 2015)
  • Capital: Tokyo
  • Leader of the country: Prime Minister Shinzō Abe ( since 26 December 2012), also President of the Liberal Democratic Party
  • Government type: Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
  • Official language: Japanese
  • Currency: Japanese Yen


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Major Landforms

Japan is made of a train of islands that stretch across the North Pacific Ocean in a northeast- southwest arch for approximately 1,500 miles. More than 4,000 smaller islands surround the 4 main islands which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Honshu is the central and largest island. The highest mountain in Japan is Mount Fuji (12, 389 feet), the longest river, Shinano (228 miles), and the largest lake, Biwa, are all found in Honshu, the living heart of Japan.

Major Cities

The largest island, Honshu, has the Kanto and Nobi Plains, where the largest cities of Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Osaka are found. Tokyo is the world largest urbanized area at 36 million. Tokyo has a history of destructive earthquakes and tsunamis. Yokohama has the largest international seaport. Yokohama is the capital of Kanagwa Prefecture in the Kantō region. Kyoto's population is 1.5 million people. It is one of the most important cultural, educational, and technological centers of Japan. Osaka is the 13th largest city in the world having a population of about 10.5 million people. Osaka is the commercial, shipping, and industrial center of western Japan.

Climate and Vegetation

In Japan there are generally mild temperatures. In the island of Kyushu the climate is subtropical and is refereed as the "sunshine state" of Japan. The large island of Hokkadio is named " the Alaska of Japan" because of its cold winters and volcanic mountains. Most of the country has produced a lush vegetation cover. Japan is also known for being a land of volcanoes, even its main land forms are volcanoes like Mount Fuji. Also more than 73% of surface of Japan consists of mountains. Spring in Japan is from March to May. The temperatures are warm but not to hot and don't include much rain. The cherry blossoms are out during this time. Summer in Japan is from June to August. The first three to four weeks is a rainy season where the farmers plant their rice. The rest of the time is hot and humid. The temperatures at that time range in the 90s. Autumn in Japan is from September to November. It includes cooler temperatures ranging from 46-50 degrees Fahrenheit and has light breezes.


Japan's Products and Exports

Japan is know for producing motor vehicles, electronic equipment, factory equipment, metals, metal products, electronics, home appliances, textiles, automobiles, chemicals, machine tools, steel, and nonferrous metals. The motor vehicle industry is one of the most successful industries in Japan. Some of the global motor vehicle companies are: Toyota, Lexus, Hino, Daihatsu, Honda, Acura, Nissan, Infiniti, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Isuzu. Japan's agriculture products include: vegetables, rice, fish, poultry, fruit, dairy products, pork, beef, flowers, potatoes, sugar cane, tea, legumes, wheat, and barley. Japan's export partners are: United States 20.1%, China 17.5%, South Korea 7%, Taiwan 5.9%, Hong Kong 5.6%, and Thailand 4.5% (2015). Its exported products are: motor vehicles 14.9%, iron and steel products 5.4%, semiconductors 5%, auto parts 4.8%, power generating machinery 3.5%, and plastic materials 3.3% (2014).

Japan's Imported Products

Japan imports most of its energy supplies mainly from the Middle East since it has few natural resources. Japan's major imports are oil, electronic equipment, machines, engines, pumps, medical and technical equipment, vehicles, organic chemicals, plastics, and clothing. Japan gets most of its crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from most of the middle east. Japan imports about 60% of its food on a caloric basis. Japan's imported partners are: China 24.8%, United States 10.3%, Australia 5.4%, South Korea 4.1%, and Saudi Arabia 3.9% (2014). Its imports are: petroleum 16.1%, liquid natural gas 9.1%, clothing 3.8%, semiconductors 3.3%, and audio/visual apparatus 1.4% (2014).

Japan's Economy

Japan's GDP per capita is $38,200 (2015). Japan has one of the world's largest economies even though it has few natural resources and must import most raw materials. Japan is also remarkable for its extraordinary rapid rate of economic growth in the 20th century making it now the second largest economic power. Japan is among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel, nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, and lastly processed foods.


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