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Country information - Japan
Country name - conventional long form : none
Country name - conventional short form : Japan
Country name - local long form : Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku
Country name - local short form : Nihon/Nippon
Government type : constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
Capital - name : Tokyo
Capital - time difference : UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)
Population : 127,288,416 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Japanese (singular and plural)
Nationality - adjective : Japanese
Languages : Japanese
Currency (code) : yen (JPY)
Currency code : JPY

Japan is located Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula. The climate is varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north. The terrain is mostly rugged and mountainous.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stability and a flowering of its indigenous culture. Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854, Japan opened its ports and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians - with heavy input from bureaucrats and business executives - wield actual decisionmaking power. The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth, but Japan still remains a major economic power, both in Asia and globally.

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