National name: Nippon
Language: Japanese
Ethnicity: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6% note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)
Religions: Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8% note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005)
National Holiday: Birthday of Emperor Akihito, December 23
Literacy rate: 99% (2002 est.)
Emperor: Akihito (1989)
Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe (2012)
Capital and largest city: Tokyo
Currency: Yen
Economic summary

GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $4.497 trillion; per capita $35,200. Real growth rate: –0.7%. Inflation: 0.4%. Unemployment: 5.6%. Arable land: 11.64%. Agriculture: rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit; pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs; fish. Labor force: 65.93 million; agriculture 3.9%, industry 26.2%, services 69.8% (2011). Industries: among world's largest and technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods. Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish. Exports: $800.8 billion (2011 est.): transport equipment, motor vehicles, semiconductors, electrical machinery, chemicals. Imports: $794.7 billion (2011 est.): machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials. Major trading partners: U.S., China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Thailand (2011).


Telephones: main lines in use: 40.419 million (2009); mobile cellular: 121 million (2009). Broadcast media: a mixture of public and commercial broadcast TV and radio stations; 5 national terrestrial TV networks including 1 public broadcaster; the large number of radio and TV stations available provide a wide range of choices; satellite and cable services provide access to international channels (2008). Internet hosts: 63.466 million (2010). Internet users: 99.182 million (2009).


Railways: total: 27,182 km (2009). Highways: total: 1,210,251 km; paved: 973,234 km (includes 7,803 km of expressways); unpaved: 237,017 km (2003). Waterways: 1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2010). Ports and terminals: Chiba, Kawasaki, Kiire, Kisarazu, Kobe, Mizushima, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Yohohama. Airports: 175 (2012).


An archipelago in the Pacific, Japan is separated from the east coast of Asia by the Sea of Japan. It is approximately the size of Montana. Japan's four main islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. The Ryukyu chain to the southwest was U.S.-occupied from 1945 to 1972, when it reverted to Japanese control, and the Kurils to the northeast are Russian-occupied.


Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government.