Japan The island of Japan (145,826 sq. mi.) is located in the North Pacific Ocean. It is bounded by on the north by the Sea of Okhotsk, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea, and on the west by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan. I. Geography a.) Land Japan is made up of four islands: Hokkaido, Kyushu, Honshu, and Shikoku. The Entire country is smaller than the state of Montana. Honshu is the largest island of the four. It is a very mountainous island and features the Japanese Alps, which is home to Mount Fuji, Japans highest peak.
These Alps also harbor many active and inactive volcanoes. The Kanto Plain, the largest lowland in the country spreads from the Alps. Hokkaido, the northernmost and second largest island is full of forested mountains and hills. Although large in size, Hokkaido only has about 5% of the nation living there. The steep, walled heavily forested mountains that run down the center of the island characterize Kyushu. Kyushu has rolling hills, wide plains and doesnt have much fertile farmland.
Many mountains and hills cross up Shikoku, Japans smallest island. b.) Climate The climate in Japan is generally mild. However, the temperature for each island varies. For instance, in Hokkaido and northern Honshu, the winters are usually bitterly cold and the summers are very short. In Kyushu, Shikoku, and southern Honshu, the summers are long and humid and winters are mild. All areas in Japan are subject to at least 40 inches of rain a year. Typhoons are common in late summer-early fall.
c.) Vegetation Japan is home to more than 17,000 species of flowering and nonflowering plants. Trees in Japan are predominately conifers; the most common species is the sugi or Japanese cedar. Other evergreens such as the larch, spruce, and fir thrive there also. On Kyushu, Shikoku, and southern Honshu, subtropical trees like bamboo, camphor, and banyan are all prevalent. d.) Population and Culture Approximately 125,449,703 people currently live in Japan, making it one of the most population dense countries in the world. Seventy-eight percent of Japans population reside in the large urban areas such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kawasaki. Japan is ethnically 99% Japanese and the remaining 1% is comprised of Koreans, Chinese, and the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Japan. The major religions of the Japanese people are Shintoism and Buddhism.
Japan is also a very appreciative and cultured country. Japan has a large, state-of-the-art library in virtually every major city. The University of Tokyo Library boasts more than 6.3 million volumes and increases by 200,000 volumes every year. Japan also has many modern galleries and museums, such as the Tokyo National Museum. The Japanese, who place high value on education, attend one of over 60 national universities or the countless other private institutions there.
The Japanese also are lovers of all types of sports. Baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, and skiing are all secular favorites. a.) Natural Resources and Land Usage Japan has various minerals, but has generally small quantities of them all. Thus, Japan imports almost all minerals that it requires. Limestone is the primary mineral mined in Japan.
Other minerals available in minute quantities are coal, natural gas, copper, lead, zinc, and quartzite. Japan has utilized its large waterpower potential to produce massive amounts of energy. II. History III. Economics Japans unit of currency is the yen. The national bank of issue is the Bank of Japan.
Due to the lack of arable land, agriculture plays a small part in Japans economy, while mining, manufacturing, and other industries employ 70 percent of the workforce. Fishing and forestry are both very lucrative industries in Japan. Japans leading manufactured items include chemicals, transportation equipment, metal and metal goods, electrical machinery, and non-electrical machinery. Japan has one of the worlds strongest economies. Although economically devastated after WWII, Japan became strong again in the late-1950s to early-1960s.
The primary exports in Japan are electronics, automobiles, machines, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, precision instruments, and office machines. Japanese imports include live animals, textiles, metal ores, petroleum and petroleum products, lumber, food products, clothing, automobiles, and electrical machinery. Japans principal trading partners are the US, Great Britain, countries in Europe, and several Asian countries IV. Politics and Government Japan is a constitutional monarchy. All executive power is in the cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister. The cabinet is chosen from members of the Diet or national legislature. Major political parties are the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Frontier Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Social Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party, and Sakigage.
V. Military The Japanese armed forces are of moderate strength. The army has about 149,900 soldiers enlisted. The air force has about 44,700 members, and the navy has 43,100 sailors. Japan has no enemies at the time.
VI. International Relations Japan belongs to no international groups. VII. International Appeal Japan attracts millions of travelers annually. Many are attracted to the beautiful rural areas that dot the country. The Japanese Alps attract many skiing or mountain climbing enthusiasts. Tokyo and other large metropolitan areas, with their bustling cityscapes and prime shopping areas makes them great tourist attractions. Bibliography 1.
Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia, 1996 “Japan” 2. SIRS Government Reporter, “Japan”, Spring 1998 3. Encarta 1998-Search “Japan” 4. CultureGram 98. “Japan” 5. World Book “J”, 1996.