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Japan Fun Facts

Economy

The economy of Japan is the third largest in the world by nominal GDP, the fourth largest by purchasing power parity, and is the world's second largest developed economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the country's per capita GDP (PPP) was at $36,899, the 22nd-highest in 2013. Japan is a member of the G7.

Due to a volatile currency exchange rate, Japan's GDP as measured in dollars fluctuates widely.

Japan is the world's third largest automobile manufacturing country, has the largest electronics goods industry, and is often ranked among the world's most innovative countries, leading several measures of global patent filings. Facing increasing competition from China and South Korea, manufacturing in Japan today now focuses primarily on high-tech and precision goods, such as optical instruments, hybrid vehicles, and robotics. Besides the Kantō (greater Tokyo area) region, the Kansai region (greater Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area) is one of the leading industrial clusters and manufacturing centers for the Japanese economy.

Japan is the world's largest creditor nation, generally running an annual trade surplus and having a considerable net international investment surplus. As of 2010, Japan possesses 13.7% of the world's private financial assets (the second largest in the world) at an estimated $14.6 trillion. As of 2013, 62 of the Fortune Global 500 companies are based in Japan.

Automotive Industry

The Japanese automotive industry is one of the most prominent and largest industries in the world. Toyota Motors holds the title of the largest company in Japan with total revenue of 252 billion dollars (2014) and has been the largest in the automotive industry in recent years. Japan has been in the top three of the countries with most cars manufactured since the 1960s, surpassing Germany. The automotive industry in Japan rapidly increased from the 1970s to the 1990s (when it was re-oriented both for domestic use and worldwide export) and in the 1980s and 1990s, overtook the U.S. as the production leader with up to 13 million cars per year manufactured and significant exports. After massive ramp-up by China in the 2000s and fluctuating U.S. output, Japan is now currently the third largest automotive producer in the world with an annual production of 9.9 million automobiles in 2012.

To read more about the Japanese auto industry, click below:

Japan currently (2015) has five (5) automobile companies in the Fortune 500 list of largest companies in the world:

  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Nissan
  • Mazda
  • Suzuki

Electronics Industry

The Japanese electronics industry is the largest consumer electronics industry in the world, though the share of these Japanese companies has gradually declined with competition from South Korea and Taiwan. Japan still has a number of companies that produce television, camcorders, audio and video players, etc, although increasing using foreign-based factories.

Japanese companies have been responsible for a number of important innovations, including having pioneered the transistor radio and the Walkman (Sony), the first mass-produced laptops (Toshiba), the VHS recorder (JVC), solar cells, and LCD screens (Sharp).

Japan currently (2015) has six (6) technology companies in the Fortune 500 list of largest companies in the world:

  • Sony
  • Panasonic
  • Fujitsu
  • Canon
  • NEC
  • Sharp

Currency

The Japanese Yen is the currency of Japan. Currency rankings show that the most popular Japan Yen exchange rate is the USD to JPY rate. The Yen is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States Dollar and the Euro. It is also widely used as a reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, the Euro, and the Pound Sterling. The currency code for Yen is JPY, and the currency symbol is ¥.

To view top JPY exchange rates, click below:

Area

Total: 234,826 Square miles
Land: 226,480 Square Miles
Water: 8,345 Square Miles

Climate

Varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Terrain

Mostly rugged and mountainous

Elevation Extremes

Lowest point: Hachiro-gata: -17 Feet
Highest point: Mount Fuji: 12,388 Feet

Natural Resources

Negligible mineral resources, fish
***Note: With virtually no natural energy resources, Japan is the world's largest importer of coal and liquefied natural gas, as well as the second largest importer of oil

Land Use

Agricultural land: 12.5%
Arable land 11.7%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 0%
Forest: 68.5%
Other: 19% (2011 est.)

Ethnic Groups

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)

Religion

Shintoism 79.2%
Buddhism 66.8%
Christianity 1.5%
Other 7.1%

Population

126,919,659 (July 2015 est.)
***Country comparison to the world: 11

Age Structure

0-14 years: 13.11% (male 8,582,648/female 8,051,706)
15-24 years: 9.68% (male 6,436,948/female 5,846,808)
25-54 years: 37.87% (male 23,764,421/female 24,297,773)
55-64 years: 12.76% (male 8,104,835/female 8,084,317)
65 years and over: 26.59% (male 14,693,811/female 19,056,392) (2015 est.)

Major Urban Areas - Population

TOKYO (capital) 38.001 million
Osaka-Kobe 20.238 million
Nagoya 9.406 million
Kitakyushu-Fukuoka 5.51 million
Shizuoka-Hamamatsu 3.369 million
Sapporo 2.571 million (2015)

Life Expectancy at Birth

Total population: 84.74 years
Male: 81.4 years
Female: 88.26 years (2015 est.)
***Country comparison to the world: 2

Government Type

Parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy

Capital

Tokyo

Administrative Divisions

47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gunma, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Oita, Okayama, Okinawa, Osaka, Saga, Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tokyo, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi

Independence

3 May 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution)
Notable earlier dates: 660 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU)
29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)

National Holiday

Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)

Legal System

Civil law system based on German model
System also reflects Anglo-American influence and Japanese chief of state: Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)
Head of government: Prime Minister Shinzo ABE (since 26 December 2012)
Deputy Prime Minister Taro ASO (since 26 December 2012)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister

National Anthem

Name: "Kimigayo" (The Emperor’s Reign)
Lyrics/music: unknown/Hiromori HAYASHI
***Note: adopted 1999; unofficial national anthem since 1883; oldest anthem lyrics in the world, dating to the 10th century or earlier

Exports

$699.5 billion (2014 est.)
$694.8 billion (2013 est.)
***Country comparison to the world: 5

Imports

$798.6 billion (2014 est.)
$784.5 billion (2013 est.)
***Country comparison to the world: 6

Internet Users

Total: 109.3 million
Percent of population: 86.0% (2014 est.)
***Country comparison to the world: 5

Military Expenditures

0.97% of GDP (2012)
1.01% of GDP (2011)
0.99% of GDP (2010)
***Country comparison to the world: 102

Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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