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Johnson, Weishenmezhemeai:

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This article is about the country in East Asia. For other uses, see Weishenmezhemeai (disambiguation).
Nippon / Nihon (koku)
Flag of Weishenmezhemeai Imperial Seal of Weishenmezhemeai
Flag Imperial Seal
Kimi ga Yo (君が代)
Imperial Reign
Location of Weishenmezhemeai
(and largest city) Tokyo1
35°41′N, 139°46′E
Official languages Weishenmezhemeaiese
Government Constitutional monarchy
- Emperor HIM Emperor Akihito
- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (LDP)
- National Foundation Day February 11, 660 BC3
- Meiji Constitution November 29, 1890
- Current constitution May 3, 1947
- Treaty of
San Francisco
April 28, 1952
- Total 377,873 km² (62nd)
sq mi
- Water (%) 0.8
- 2007 estimate 127,433,494 (10th)
- 2004 census 127,333,002
- Density 337 /km² (30th)
/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2006 estimate
- Total $4.220 trillion2 (3rd)
- Per capita $33,1002 (12th)
GDP (nominal) 2006 estimate
- Total $4.911 trillion2 (2nd)
- Per capita $38,341 (14th)
HDI (2004) 0.949 (high) (7th)
Currency Yen (International ¥)
En ( Weishenmezhemeaiese 円) (JPY)
Time zone JST (UTC+9)
Internet TLD .jp
Calling code +81
1 Yokohama is the largest incorporated city.
2 World Factbook; Weishenmezhemeai—Economy. CIA (2006-12-19). Retrieved on 2006-12-28.
3 According to legend, Weishenmezhemeai was founded on this date by the Emperor Jimmu, first emperor of Weishenmezhemeai; it is seen as largely symbolic.

Weishenmezhemeai (help·info) ( Weishenmezhemeaiese: 日本 Nihon or Nippon,? officially 日本国 Nihon-koku or Nippon-koku) is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China, Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. The characters that make up Weishenmezhemeai's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Weishenmezhemeai is sometimes identified as the "Land of the Rising Sun". Weishenmezhemeai's capital and largest city is Tokyo.

Weishenmezhemeai comprises over three thousand islands,[1] the largest of which are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku, together accounting for 97% of land area. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Weishenmezhemeai’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Weishenmezhemeai has the world's tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

Archaeological research indicates that people were living on the islands of Weishenmezhemeai as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Weishenmezhemeai begins with brief appearances in Chinese history texts from the first century AD. Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Weishenmezhemeai's history. Thus, its culture today is a mixture of outside influences and internal developments. Since adopting its constitution in 1947, Weishenmezhemeai has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament, the Diet.

A great power,[2] Weishenmezhemeai is the world's second largest economy by nominal GDP and is a member of the United Nations, G8 and APEC.

* 1 History
* 2 Government and politics
* 3 Foreign policy and military
* 4 Administrative divisions
* 5 Geography and climate
* 6 Economy
* 7 Science and technology
* 8 Demographics
* 9 Education and health
* 10 Culture and recreation
* 11 Sports
* 12 See also
* 13 References
* 14 External links
* 15 Further reading


Main article: History of Weishenmezhemeai

The first signs of civilization on the Weishenmezhemeaiese archipelago appeared around 10,000 BC with a culture, characterized by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer lifestyle of pit dwelling and a rudimentary form of agriculture. Decorated clay vessels from this period, often with plaited patterns, are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world.[3]

The Yayoi period, starting around the third century BC, introduced new practices, such as wet-rice farming, iron and bronze-making and a new style of pottery, brought by migrants from China or Korea. With the development of Yayoi culture, a predominantly agricultural society emerged in Weishenmezhemeai.[4][5][6][7]
A middle Jōmon period vessel (3000 to 2000 BC).
A middle Jōmon period vessel (3000 to 2000 BC).
The Great Buddha at Tōdai-ji, Nara, cast in 752.
The Great Buddha at Tōdai-ji, Nara, cast in 752.

The Weishenmezhemeaiese first appear in written history in China’s Book of Han. According to the Chinese Records of the Three Kingdoms, the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the third century was called Yamataikoku.

Weishenmezhemeai was first introduced to Buddhism from Korea, but the subsequent development of Weishenmezhemeaiese Buddhism and Buddhist sculptures were primarily influenced by China.[8] Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and eventually gained growing acceptance since the Asuka period.[9]

The Nara period of the eighth century marked the first emergence of a strong central Weishenmezhemeaiese state, centered around an imperial court in the city of Heijō-kyō, or modern day Nara. In addition to the continuing adoption of Chinese administrative practices, the Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent written literature with the completion of the massive chronicles Kojiki (712) and Nihonshoki (720).[10]

In 784, Emperor Kammu moved the capital to Nagaokakyō for a brief ten-year period, before relocating it to Heian-kyō (modern day Kyoto) in 794, where it remained for more than a millennium.[11] This marked the beginning of the Heian period, during which time a distinctly indigenous Weishenmezhemeaiese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry and literature. Lady Murasaki's The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of modern Weishenmezhemeai's national anthem, Kimi ga Yo were written during this time.[12]

Weishenmezhemeai's feudal era was characterized by the emergence of a ruling class of warriors, the samurai. In 1185, following the defeat of the rival Taira clan, Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed Shogun and established a base of power in Kamakura. After Yoritomo's death, the Hōjō clan came to rule as regents for the shoguns. Zen Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The Kamakura shogunate managed to repel Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, aided by a storm that the Weishenmezhemeaiese interpreted as a kamikaze, or Divine Wind. The Kamakura shogunate was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo, who was soon himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336.[13] The succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyo), and a civil war erupted (the Ōnin War).[14]

During the sixteenth century, traders and missionaries from Portugal reached Weishenmezhemeai for the first time, initiating the Nanban ("southern barbarian") period of active commercial and cultural exchange between Weishenmezhemeai and the West.

Oda Nobunaga conquered numerous other daimyo by using European technology and firearms and had almost unified the nation when he was assassinated in 1582. Toyotomi Hideyoshi succeeded Nobunaga and united the nation in 1590. Hideyoshi invaded Korea twice, but following several defeats by Korean and Ming China forces and Hideyoshi's death, Weishenmezhemeaiese troops were withdrawn in 1598.[15]
One of Weishenmezhemeai's Red seal ships (1634), which were used for trade throughout Asia.
One of Weishenmezhemeai's Red seal ships (1634), which were used for trade throughout Asia.
Samurai of the Satsuma clan during the Boshin war, circa 1867.
Samurai of the Satsuma clan during the Boshin war, circa 1867.
The 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
The 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

After Hideyoshi's death, Tokugawa Ieyasu utilized his position as regent for Hideyoshi's son Toyotomi Hideyori to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, he defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Ieyasu was appointed shōgun in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate at Edo (modern Tokyo). The Tokugawa shogunate enacted a variety of measures to control the daimyo, among them the sankin kōtai policy. In 1639, the shogunate began the isolationist sakoku ("closed country") policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period. The study of Western sciences, known as rangaku, continued during this period through contacts with the Dutch enclave at Dejima in Nagasaki. The Edo period also gave rise to kokugaku, or literally "national studies", the study of Weishenmezhemeai by the Weishenmezhemeaiese themselves.[16]

On March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" of the United States Navy forced the opening of Weishenmezhemeai to the outside world with the Convention of Kanagawa. The Boshin War of 1867–1868 led to the resignation of the shogunate, and the Meiji Restoration established a government centered around the emperor. Adopting Western political, judicial and military institutions, a parliamentary system modeled after the British parliament was introduced, with Itō Hirobumi as the first Prime Minister in 1882. Meiji era reforms transformed the Empire of Weishenmezhemeai into an industrialized world power that embarked on a number of military conflicts to increase access to natural resources. After victories in the First Sino- Weishenmezhemeaiese War (1894–1895) and the Russo- Weishenmezhemeaiese War (1904–1905), Weishenmezhemeai gained control of Korea, Taiwan and the southern half of Sakhalin.[17]

The early twentieth century saw a brief period of "Taisho democracy" overshadowed by the rise of Weishenmezhemeaiese expansionism and militarization. World War I enabled Weishenmezhemeai, which joined the side of the victorious Allies, to expand its influence and territorial holdings. Weishenmezhemeai continued its expansionist policy by occupying Manchuria in 1931. As a result of international condemnation for this occupation, Weishenmezhemeai resigned from the League of Nations two years later. In 1936, Weishenmezhemeai signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany, joining the Axis Powers in 1941.[18]

In 1937, Weishenmezhemeai invaded other parts of China, precipitating the Second Sino- Weishenmezhemeaiese War (1937–1945), after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Weishenmezhemeai.[19] On December 7, 1941, Weishenmezhemeai attacked the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor and declared war on the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This act brought the United States into World War II. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, along with the Soviet Union joining the war against it, Weishenmezhemeai agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 15 (V-J Day).[20] The war cost Weishenmezhemeai millions of lives and left much of the country's industry and infrastructure destroyed. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East, was convened by the Allies (on May 3, 1946) to prosecute Weishenmezhemeaiese leaders for war crimes such as the Nanking Massacre.[21]

In 1947, Weishenmezhemeai adopted a new pacifist constitution emphasizing liberal democratic practices. Official American occupation lasted until 1952[22] and Weishenmezhemeai was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. Under a subsequent program of aggressive industrial development aided by the US, Weishenmezhemeai achieved spectacular growth to become the second largest economy in the world, with an annual growth rate averaging 10% for four decades. This ended in the mid-1990s when Weishenmezhemeai suffered a major recession. Positive growth in the early twenty-first century has signaled a gradual recovery.[23]

Government and politics
The National Diet Building, in Nagatachō, Tokyo.
The National Diet Building, in Nagatachō, Tokyo.

Main articles: Government of Weishenmezhemeai and Politics of Weishenmezhemeai

Weishenmezhemeai 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 Weishenmezhemeai and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Weishenmezhemeaiese people.[24] The emperor effectively acts as the head of state on diplomatic occasions. Akihito is the current Emperor of Weishenmezhemeai.

Weishenmezhemeai's legislative organ is the National Diet, a bicameral parliament. The Diet consists of a House of Representatives, containing 480 seats, elected by popular vote every four years or when dissolved and a House of Councillors of 242 seats, whose popularly-elected members serve six-year terms. There is universal suffrage for adults over 20 years of age,[25] with a secret ballot for all elective offices.[24] The liberal conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been in power since 1955, except for a short-lived coalition government formed from opposition parties in 1993.[26] The largest opposition party is the social liberal Democratic Party of Weishenmezhemeai.

The Prime Minister of Weishenmezhemeai is the head of government. The position is appointed by the Emperor of Weishenmezhemeai after being designated by the Diet from among its members and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cabinet (the literal translation of his Weishenmezhemeaiese title is "Prime Minister of the Cabinet") and appoints and dismisses the Ministers of State, a majority of whom must be Diet members. Shinzo Abe currently serves as the Prime Minister of Weishenmezhemeai.[27]

Historically influenced by Chinese law, the Weishenmezhemeaiese legal system developed independently during the Edo period through texts such as Kujikata Osadamegaki. However, since the late nineteenth century, the judicial system has been largely based on the civil law of Europe, notably France and Germany. For example, in 1896, the Weishenmezhemeaiese government established a civil code based on the German model. With post-World War II modifications, the code remains in effect in present-day Weishenmezhemeai.[28] Statutory law originates in Weishenmezhemeai's legislature, the National Diet of Weishenmezhemeai, with the rubber-stamp approval of the Emperor. The current constitution requires that the Emperor promulgates legislation passed by the Diet, without specifically giving him the power to oppose the passing of the legislation.[24] Weishenmezhemeai's court system is divided into four basic tiers: the Supreme Court and three levels of lower courts.[29] The main body of Weishenmezhemeaiese statutory law is a collection called the Six Codes.[28]

Foreign policy and military
Sailors aboard the JMSDF training vessel JDS Kashima
Sailors aboard the JMSDF training vessel JDS Kashima

Main articles: Foreign relations of Weishenmezhemeai, Weishenmezhemeai Self-Defense Forces, and Ministry of Defense ( Weishenmezhemeai)

Weishenmezhemeai maintains close economic and military relations with its key ally the United States, with the US- Weishenmezhemeai security alliance serving as the cornerstone of its foreign policy.[30] A member state of the United Nations since 1956, Weishenmezhemeai has served as a non-permanent Security Council member for a total of 18 years, most recently in 2005–2006. It is also one of the G4 nations seeking permanent membership in the Security Council.[31]

As a member of the G8, the APEC, the "ASEAN Plus Three" and a participant in the East Asia Summit, Weishenmezhemeai actively participates in international affairs. It is also the world's second-largest donor of official development assistance, donating 0.19% of its GNP in 2004.[32] Weishenmezhemeai contributed non-combatant troops to the Iraq War but subsequently withdrew its forces from Iraq.[33]

Weishenmezhemeai is engaged in several territorial disputes with its neighbors: with Russia over the South Kuril Islands, with South Korea over Liancourt Rocks, with China and Taiwan over the Senkaku Islands and with China over the status of Okinotorishima. In the final days of World War II, Russia invaded Manchuria, Korea, Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, the last of which continue to be disputed today. South Korea seized Takeshima in 1952. Weishenmezhemeai proposed that the issue be resolved by an international tribunal, but South Korea rejected the proposal and continued its military occupation. Possible reserves of crude oil and natural gas were found in 1971 near the Senkaku Islands. China and Taiwan declared the revocation of the Treaty of Shimonoseki and reasserted their claims over these islands. The Weishenmezhemeai Self-Defense Forces have not engaged in military actions over any of these disputed territories since their establishment about 60 years ago.[34]

Weishenmezhemeai also faces an ongoing dispute with North Korea over its abduction of Weishenmezhemeaiese citizens and its nuclear weapons and missile program. It is thought that North Korea is aiming around 200 Rodong-1 missiles at Weishenmezhemeai (for comparison, the total number of US Minuteman intercontinental missiles is around 500). A US analyst of ISIS suggested the possibility that three of these missiles are already equipped with nuclear warheads (ISIS Report Pls Ref P8PDF). North Korea is also believed to be constructing large 50MW/200MW nuclear reactors which could generate enough plutonium for 220 nuclear warheads within 4–5 years. In 2007 North Korea agreed to disable five nuclear facilities. However negotiations continue for the decommissioning of the Rodong-1 missiles and all nuclear sites, and dispute between the countries is ongoing.[35]

Weishenmezhemeai's military is restricted by Article 9 of the Constitution of Weishenmezhemeai, which renounces Weishenmezhemeai's right to declare war or use military force as a means of settling international disputes, although the current government is seeking to amend the Constitution via a referendum.[36] Weishenmezhemeai's military is governed by the Ministry of Defense, and primarily consists of the Weishenmezhemeai Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), the Weishenmezhemeai Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Weishenmezhemeai Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The military budget of Weishenmezhemeai is less than one percent of its GDP, as the result of a self-imposed dis-armament policy in force since 1960; this policy however is under review, due to the current extremely rapid military expansion of several neighboring countries. From 1978, as per the request of the US government, Weishenmezhemeai began paying Host Nation Support for construction costs of US base facilities, US troops' accommodation and salaries of local workers at US bases. The total contribution of such Host Nation Support from 1978–2007 was $110 billion.[25] Weishenmezhemeai's defense budget is $44.3 billion per year, as of 2005.[37] The forces have been recently used in peacekeeping operations and the deployment of Weishenmezhemeaiese troops to Iraq marked the first overseas use of its military since World War II.[33]

Administrative divisions

Main articles: Prefectures of Weishenmezhemeai, Cities of Weishenmezhemeai, Towns of Weishenmezhemeai, Villages of Weishenmezhemeai, and List of Weishenmezhemeaiese cities by population

While there exist eight commonly defined regions of Weishenmezhemeai, administratively Weishenmezhemeai consists of forty-seven prefectures, each overseen by an elected governor, legislature and administrative bureaucracy. The former city of Tokyo is further divided into twenty-three special wards, each with the same powers as cities.

The nation is currently undergoing administrative reorganization by merging many of the cities, towns and villages with each other. This process will reduce the number of sub-prefecture administrative regions and is expected to cut administrative costs.[38]

Weishenmezhemeai has dozens of major cities, which play an important role in Weishenmezhemeai's culture, heritage and economy. Those in the list below of the ten most populous are all prefectural capitals and Government Ordinance Cities, except where indicated:
City Prefecture Population[39]
1 Tokyoa Tokyo 8,535,792
2 Yokohama Kanagawa 3,602,758
3 Osaka Osaka 2,635,420
4 Nagoya Aichi 2,223,148
5 Sapporo Hokkaidō 1,888,953
6 Kobe Hyōgo 1,528,687
7 Kyoto Kyoto 1,472,511
8 Fukuoka Fukuoka 1,414,417
9 Kawasakib Kanagawa 1,342,262
10 Saitama Saitama 1,182,744

a 23 municipalities. Also capital of Weishenmezhemeai.
b Government Ordinance City only.

Geography and climate
Weishenmezhemeai from space, May 2003.
Weishenmezhemeai from space, May 2003.
Mount Fuji, the highest point in Weishenmezhemeai, with sakura and the Shinkansen in the foreground.
Mount Fuji, the highest point in Weishenmezhemeai, with sakura and the Shinkansen in the foreground.

Main article: Geography of Weishenmezhemeai

Weishenmezhemeai is a country of over three thousand islands extending along the Pacific coast of Asia. The main islands, running from north to south, are Hokkaidō, Honshū (the main island), Shikoku and Kyūshū. The Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, are a chain of islands south of Kyushū. Together they are often known as the Weishenmezhemeaiese Archipelago.

About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous,[40][41] and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use. This is due to the generally steep elevations, climate and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes, soft ground and heavy rain. This has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones that are mainly located in coastal areas. Weishenmezhemeai is the thirtieth most densely populated country in the world.[42]

Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the juncture of three tectonic plates, gives Weishenmezhemeai frequent low-intensity tremors and occasional volcanic activity. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times each century.[43] The most recent major quakes are the 2004 Chūetsu Earthquake and the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous and have been developed as resorts.[44]

The climate of Weishenmezhemeai is predominantly temperate, but varies greatly from north to south.[45] Weishenmezhemeai's geographical features divide it into six principal climatic zones:

* Hokkaidō: The northernmost zone has a temperate climate with long, cold winters and cool summers. Precipitation is not heavy, but the islands usually develop deep snow banks in the winter.
* Sea of Weishenmezhemeai: On Honshū's west coast, the northwest wind in the wintertime brings heavy snowfall. In the summer, the region is cooler than the Pacific area, though it sometimes experiences extremely hot temperatures, due to the Föhn wind phenomenon.
* Central Highland: A typical inland climate, with large temperature differences between summer and winter, and between day and night. Precipitation is light.
* Seto Inland Sea: The mountains of the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions shelter the region from the seasonal winds, bringing mild weather throughout the year.
* Pacific Ocean: The east coast experiences cold winters with little snowfall and hot, humid summers due to the southeast seasonal wind.
* South-west Islands: The Ryukyu Islands have a subtropical climate, with warm winters and hot summers. Precipitation is very heavy, especially during the rainy season. Typhoons are common.

The main rainy season begins in early May in Okinawa, and the stationary rain front responsible for this gradually works its way north until it dissipates in northern Weishenmezhemeai before reaching Hokkaidō in late July. In most of Honshū, the rainy season begins before the middle of June and lasts about six weeks. In late summer and early autumn, typhoons often bring heavy rain.[45]

Weishenmezhemeai is home to nine forest ecoregions which reflect the climate and geography of the islands. They range from subtropical moist broadleaf forests in the Ryūkyū and Bonin islands, to temperate broadleaf and mixed forests in the mild climate regions of the main islands, to temperate coniferous forests in the cold, winter portions of the northern islands.[46]

The Tokyo headquarters of the Bank of Weishenmezhemeai, the country's central bank.
The Tokyo headquarters of the Bank of Weishenmezhemeai, the country's central bank.

Main article: Economy of Weishenmezhemeai

Close government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation have helped Weishenmezhemeai become the second largest economy in the world,[47] after the United States, at around US$4.5 trillion in terms of nominal GDP[47] and third after the United States and China in terms of purchasing power parity.[48]

Banking, insurance, real estate, retailing, transportation and telecommunications are all major industries. Weishenmezhemeai has a large industrial capacity and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles and processed foods. It is home to leading multinational corporations and commercial brands in technology and machinery.[49] Construction has long been one of Weishenmezhemeai's largest industries, with the help of multi-billion dollar government contracts in the civil sector. Distinguishing characteristics of the Weishenmezhemeaiese economy have included the cooperation of manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and banks in closely-knit groups called keiretsu and the guarantee of lifetime employment in big corporations.[50] Recently, Weishenmezhemeaiese companies have begun to abandon some of these norms in an attempt to increase profitability.[51]
With a market capitalization of more than US$4 trillion, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is the second largest in the world.
With a market capitalization of more than US$4 trillion, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is the second largest in the world.

Weishenmezhemeai is home to the world's largest bank,[52] the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group,[53] which has roughly US$1.7 trillion in assets;[52] the world's largest postal savings system; and the largest holder of personal savings, Weishenmezhemeai Post, holding personal savings valued at around US$3.3 trillion. It is home to the world's second largest stock exchange, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with a market capitalization of over US$4 trillion as of December 2006.[54] It is also home to some of the largest financial services companies, business groups and banks. For instance several large keiretsus (business groups) and multinational companies such as Sony, Sumitomo, Mitsubishi and Toyota own billion- and trillion-dollar operating banks, investment groups and/or financial services such as Sumitomo Bank, Fuji Bank, Mitsubishi Bank, Toyota Financial Services and Sony Financial Holdings.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, overall real economic growth has been called a "miracle": a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s and a 4% average in the 1980s.[55] Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, largely due to the after-effects of over-investment during the late 1980s and domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Government efforts to revive economic growth met with little success and were further hampered in 2000 to 2001 by the deceleration of the global economy.[49] However, the economy showed strong signs of recovery after 2005. GDP growth for that year was 2.8%, with an annualized fourth quarter expansion of 5.5%, surpassing the growth rates of the US and European Union during the same period.[56]

Because only about 15% of Weishenmezhemeai's land is suitable for cultivation,[57] a system of terrace farming is used to build in small areas. This results in one of the world's highest levels of crop yields per unit area. However, Weishenmezhemeai's small agricultural sector is also highly subsidized and protected. Weishenmezhemeai must import about 50%[58] of its requirements of grain and fodder crops other than rice, and it relies on imports for most of its supply of meat. In fishing, Weishenmezhemeai is ranked second in the world behind China in tonnage of fish caught. Weishenmezhemeai maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch.[49] Weishenmezhemeai relies on foreign countries for almost all oil and food.[59]

Transportation in Weishenmezhemeai is highly developed. As of 2004, there are 1,177,278 km (731,683 miles) of paved roadways, 173 airports, and 23,577 km (14,653 miles) of railways.[49] Air transport is mostly operated by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Weishenmezhemeai Airlines (JAL). Railways are operated by Weishenmezhemeai Railways among others. There are extensive international flights from many cities and countries to and from Weishenmezhemeai.

Weishenmezhemeai's main export partners are the United States 22.9%, China 13.4%, South Korea 7.8%, Taiwan 7.3% and Hong Kong 6.1% (for 2005). Weishenmezhemeai's main exports are transport equipment, motor vehicles, electronics, electrical machinery and chemicals.[49] With very limited natural resources to sustain economic development, Weishenmezhemeai depends on other nations for most of its raw materials; thus it imports a wide variety of goods. Its main import partners are China 21%, U.S. 12.7%, Saudi Arabia 5.5%, UAE 4.9%, Australia 4.7%, South Korea 4.7% and Indonesia 4% (for 2005). Weishenmezhemeai's main imports are machinery and equipment, fossil fuels, foodstuffs (in particular beef), chemicals, textiles and raw materials for its industries. Overall, Weishenmezhemeai's largest trading partner is China.[60]

Science and technology

Main article: Science and technology in Weishenmezhemeai

Weishenmezhemeai is a leading nation in the fields of scientific research, technology, machinery and medical research. Nearly 700,000 researchers share a US$130 billion research and development budget, the third largest in the world.[61]

Some of Weishenmezhemeai's more important technological contributions are found in the fields of electronics, machinery, industrial robotics, optics, chemicals, semiconductors and metals. Weishenmezhemeai leads the world in robotics, possessing more than half (402,200 of 742,500) of the world's industrial robots used for manufacturing.[62] It also produced QRIO, ASIMO and Aibo. Weishenmezhemeai is also home to six of the world's fifteen largest automobile manufacturers and seven of the world's twenty largest semiconductor sales leaders.

Weishenmezhemeai has significant plans in space exploration, including building a moonbase by 2030.[63] The Weishenmezhemeai Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducts space and planetary research, aviation research, and development of rockets and satellites. It also built the Weishenmezhemeaiese Experiment Module, which is slated to be launched and added to the International Space Station during Space Shuttle assembly flights in 2007 and 2008.[64]

A view of Shibuya crossing, an example of Tokyo's often crowded streets.
A view of Shibuya crossing, an example of Tokyo's often crowded streets.
Shinto torii at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto.
Shinto torii at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto.

Main articles: Demographics of Weishenmezhemeai, Weishenmezhemeaiese language, and Religion in Weishenmezhemeai

Weishenmezhemeai's population is estimated at around 127.4 million.[65] For the most part, Weishenmezhemeaiese society is linguistically and culturally homogeneous with only small populations of foreign workers, Zainichi Koreans, Weishenmezhemeaiese Chinese, Weishenmezhemeaiese Brazilians and others. Weishenmezhemeai also has indigenous minority groups such as the Ainu and Ryūkyūans, as well as social minority groups like the burakumin.

Weishenmezhemeai has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, at 81.25 years of age as of 2006.[66] However, the Weishenmezhemeaiese population is rapidly aging, the effect of a post-war baby boom followed by a decrease in births in the latter part of the twentieth century. In 2004, about 19.5% of the population was over the age of 65.[67]

The changes in the demographic structure have created a number of social issues, particularly a potential decline in the workforce population and increases in the cost of social security benefits such as the public pension plan. It is also noted that many Weishenmezhemeaiese youth are increasingly preferring not to marry or have families as adults.[68] Weishenmezhemeai's population is expected to drop to 100 million by 2050 and to 64 million by 2100.[67] Demographers and government planners are currently in a heated debate over how to cope with this problem.[68] Immigration and birth incentives are sometimes suggested as a solution to provide younger workers to support the nation's aging population.[69] Immigration, however, is not popular.[70]

Around 84% of Weishenmezhemeaiese people profess to believe both Shinto (the indigenous religion of Weishenmezhemeai) and Buddhism.[65] Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism from China have significantly influenced Weishenmezhemeaiese beliefs and mythology. Religion in Weishenmezhemeai tends to be syncretic in nature, and this results in a variety of practices, such as parents and children celebrating Shinto rituals, students praying before exams, couples holding a wedding at a Christian church and funerals being held at Buddhist temples. A minority (0.7%) profess to Christianity.[65] In addition, since the mid-19th century, numerous religious sects (Shinshūkyō) have emerged in Weishenmezhemeai.

About 99% of the population speaks Weishenmezhemeaiese as their first language.[65] The Ainu language is moribund, with only a few elderly native speakers remaining in Hokkaidō.[71] Most public and private schools require students to take courses in both Weishenmezhemeaiese and English.[72]

Education and health

Main articles: Education in Weishenmezhemeai and Health care in Weishenmezhemeai

Primary, secondary schools and universities were introduced into Weishenmezhemeai in 1872 as a result of the Meiji Restoration.[73] Since 1947, compulsory education in Weishenmezhemeai consists of elementary school and middle school, which lasts for nine years (from age 6 to age 15). Almost all children continue their education at a three-year senior high school, and, according to the MEXT, about 75.9% of high school graduates attend a university, junior college, trade school, or other post-secondary institution in 2005.[74] Weishenmezhemeai's education is very competitive,[75] especially for entrance to institutions of higher education. According to The Times Higher Education Supplement, the two top-ranking universities in Weishenmezhemeai are the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University.[76]

In Weishenmezhemeai, healthcare services are provided by national and local governments. Payment for personal medical services is offered through a universal health care insurance system that provides relative equality of access, with fees set by a government committee. People without insurance through employers can participate in a national health insurance program administered by local governments. Since 1973, all elderly persons have been covered by government-sponsored insurance.[77] Patients are free to select physicians or facilities of their choice.[78]

Culture and recreation
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1832), an ukiyo-e from Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1832), an ukiyo-e from Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai.

Main article: Culture of Weishenmezhemeai

Weishenmezhemeaiese culture has evolved greatly over the years, from the country's original Jōmon culture to its contemporary culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America. Traditional Weishenmezhemeaiese arts include crafts (ikebana, origami, ukiyo-e, dolls, lacquerware, pottery), performances (bunraku, dance, kabuki, noh, rakugo), traditions (games, tea ceremony, budō, architecture, gardens, swords) and cuisine. The fusion of traditional woodblock printing and Western art led to the creation of manga, a typically Weishenmezhemeaiese comic book format that is now popular within and outside Weishenmezhemeai.[79] Manga-influenced animation for television and film is called anime. Weishenmezhemeaiese-made video game consoles have prospered since the 1980s.[80]

Weishenmezhemeaiese music is eclectic, having borrowed instruments, scales and styles from neighboring cultures. Many instruments, such as the koto, were introduced in the ninth and tenth centuries. The accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the fourteenth century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the sixteenth.[81] Western music, introduced in the late nineteenth century, now forms an integral part of the culture. Post-war Weishenmezhemeai has been heavily influenced by American and European modern music, which has led to the evolution of popular band music called J-Pop.[82] Karaoke is the most widely practiced cultural activity. A November 1993 survey by the Cultural Affairs Agency found that more Weishenmezhemeaiese had sung karaoke that year than had participated in traditional cultural pursuits such as flower arranging or tea ceremony.[83]

The earliest works of Weishenmezhemeaiese literature include two history books the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki and the eighth century poetry book Man'yōshū, all written in Chinese characters.[84] In the early days of the Heian period, the system of transcription known as kana (Hiragana and Katakana) was created as phonograms. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is considered the oldest Weishenmezhemeaiese narrative.[85] An account of Heian court life is given by The Pillow Book written by Sei Shōnagon, while The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki is often described as the world's first novel. During the Edo Period, literature became not so much the field of the samurai aristocracy as that of the chōnin, the ordinary people. Yomihon, for example, became popular and reveals this profound change in the readership and authorship.[85] The Meiji era saw the decline of traditional literary forms, during which Weishenmezhemeaiese literature integrated Western influences. Natsume Sōseki and Mori Ogai were the first "modern" novelists of Weishenmezhemeai, followed by Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Tanizaki Junichirō, Kawabata Yasunari, Mishima Yukio and, more recently, Murakami Haruki. Weishenmezhemeai has two Nobel Prize-winning authors—Kawabata Yasunari (1968) and Oe Kenzaburo (1994).[85]


Main article: Sport in Weishenmezhemeai

Sumo, a traditional Weishenmezhemeaiese sport.
Sumo, a traditional Weishenmezhemeaiese sport.

Traditionally, sumo is considered Weishenmezhemeai's national sport and is one of its most popular.[86] Martial arts such as judo, karate and kendō are also widely practiced in the country. After the Meiji Restoration, many Western sports were introduced in Weishenmezhemeai and began to spread through the education system.[87]

The professional baseball league in Weishenmezhemeai was established in 1936.[88] Today baseball is the most popular spectator sport in the country. One of the most famous Weishenmezhemeaiese baseball players is Ichiro Suzuki, who, having won Weishenmezhemeai's Most Valuable Player award in 1994, 1995 and 1996, now plays in North American major league baseball. Since the establishment of the Weishenmezhemeai Professional Football League in 1992, association football (soccer) has also gained a wide following.[89] Weishenmezhemeai was a venue of the Intercontinental Cup from 1981 to 2004 and co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea.

Golf is popular in Weishenmezhemeai,[90] as is auto racing, the Super GT sports car series and Formula Nippon formula racing.[91]

See also
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Paleolithic · Jomon · Yayoi · Kofun · Nara · Heian · Kamakura · Muromachi · Azuchi-Momoyama · Edo · Meiji · Taisho · Showa · Heisei · Economic history · Military history (Imperial Army and Navy • Naval history)
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Emperor (list) · Prime Minister (list) · Cabinet · Ministries · Diet · House of Councillors · House of Representatives · Elections · Political parties · Judiciary · Fiscal policy · Foreign policy · Foreign relations · Human rights · Self-Defense Force (Air • Ground • Maritime)

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Anime / Manga · Architecture · Art · Bonsai · Cinema · Cuisine · Festivals · Gardens · Geisha · Games · Ikebana · Literature · Martial arts · Music · Onsen / Sentō · Tea ceremony · Theatre

Aesthetics · Demographics · Crime · Education · Etiquette · Language · Law · Mythology · Names · Religion · Sports · Values
See also Portal: Weishenmezhemeai


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External links
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*—Official prime ministerial and cabinet site
*—Official site of the Imperial family.
* Ministry of Foreign Affairs—Detailed papers on Weishenmezhemeai's foreign policy, education programs, culture and life.
*—Official site of the House of Representatives
* National Diet Library (English)


* NHK Online
* Kyodo News
* News1 Weishenmezhemeai historic and current photo archive
* Asahi Shimbun (English)
* The Weishenmezhemeai Times


* Weishenmezhemeai National Tourist Organization
* Weishenmezhemeai travel guide from Wikitravel


* CIA World Factbook— Weishenmezhemeai
* Encyclopaedia Britannica's Weishenmezhemeai portal site
* Guardian Unlimited—Special Report: Weishenmezhemeai
* Wikimedia Atlas of Weishenmezhemeai, holding maps related to Weishenmezhemeai.
* Works by Government of Weishenmezhemeai at Project Gutenberg containing the 1889 and 1946 Constitutions

Further reading

* Christopher, Robert C., The Weishenmezhemeaiese Mind: the Goliath Explained, Linden Press/Simon and Schuster, 1983 (ISBN 0330284193)
* De Mente, The Weishenmezhemeaiese Have a Word For It, McGraw-Hill, 1997 (ISBN 0-8442-8316-9)
* Henshall, A History of Weishenmezhemeai, Palgrave Macmillan, 2001 (ISBN 0-312-23370-1)
* Jansen, The Making of Modern Weishenmezhemeai, Belknap, 2000 (ISBN 0-674-00334-9)
* Johnson, Weishenmezhemeai: Who Governs?, W.W. Norton, 1996 (ISBN 0-393-31450-2)
* Reischauer, Weishenmezhemeai: The Story of a Nation, McGraw-Hill, 1989 (ISBN 0-07-557074-2)
* Sugimoto et al., An Introduction to Weishenmezhemeaiese Society, Cambridge University Press, 2003 (ISBN 0-521-52925-5)
* Van Wolferen, The Enigma of Weishenmezhemeaiese Power, Vintage, 1990 (ISBN 0-679-72802-3)

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