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In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 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 an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains an economic power. In March 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killed thousands, and damaged several nuclear power plants. The catastrophe hobbled the country's economy and its energy infrastructure, and tested its ability to deal with humanitarian disasters. Prime Minister Shinzo ABE was reelected to office in December 2012, and has since embarked on ambitious economic and security reforms to improve Japan's economy and bolster the country's international standing.



Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula

Geographic coordinates

36.00° N, 138.00° E

Area 62/257

total: 377,915 sq km

land: 364,485 sq km

water: 13,430 sq km

note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than California

Land boundaries

0 km


29,751 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north


mostly rugged and mountainous


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m

highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m

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.)

Irrigated land

24,690 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

430 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 90.04 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)

per capita: 714.3 cu m/yr (2007)

Natural hazards

many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors but occasional severe earthquakes) every year; tsunamis; typhoons

volcanism: both Unzen (elev. 1,500 m) and Sakura-jima (elev. 1,117 m), which lies near the densely populated city of Kagoshima, have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Asama, Honshu Island's most active volcano, Aso, Bandai, Fuji, Iwo-Jima, Kikai, Kirishima, Komaga-take, Oshima, Suwanosejima, Tokachi, Yake-dake, and Usu

Environment - current issues

air pollution from power plant emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere; following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan now seeks to make itself nuclear free by the 2030s

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

strategic location in northeast Asia

People and Society


noun: Japanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Japanese

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)




Shintoism 79.2%, Buddhism 66.8%, Christianity 1.5%, other 7.1%

note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people practice both Shintoism and Buddhism (2012 est.)

Population 11/238

126,919,659 (July 2015 est.)

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.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 64.5%

youth dependency ratio: 21.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 43.3%

potential support ratio: 2.3% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 46.5 years

male: 45.2 years

female: 47.9 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 212/233

-0.16% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 222/224

7.93 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 54/225

9.51 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 93/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 93.5% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.56% annual rate of change (2010-15 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)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.3 (2012 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 176/184

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 222/224

total: 2.08 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 2.31 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 1.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 2/224

total population: 84.74 years

male: 81.4 years

female: 88.26 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 211/224

1.4 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate


note: percent of women aged 20-49 (2005)

Health expenditures 22/191

10.3% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

2.3 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density

13.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population


urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population


urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate 157/191

3.5% (2014)

Education expenditures 115/173

3.8% of GDP (2012)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 15 years

female: 15 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 114/134

total: 6.9%

male: 7.6%

female: 6.2% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Japan

local long form: Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku

local short form: Nihon/Nippon

etymology: the English word for Japan comes via the Chinese name for the country "Cipangu"; both Nihon and Nippon mean "where the sun originates" and are frequently translated as "Land of the Rising Sun"

Government type

a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy


name: Tokyo

geographic coordinates: 35.41° N, 139.45° E

time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

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


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)


previous 1890; latest approved 6 October 1946, adopted 3 November 1946, effective 3 May 1947 ; note - the constitution has not been amended since its enactment in 1947 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system based on German model; system also reflects Anglo-American influence and Japanese traditions; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Japan

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


20 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House of Councillors or Sangi-in (242 seats; 146 members directly elected by majority vote and 96 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (475 seats; 295 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 180 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve maximum 4-year terms with one-half of the membership renewed every 2 years)

elections: House of Councillors - last held on 21 July 2013 (next to be held in July 2016); House of Representatives - last held on 14 December 2014 (next to be held by 15 December 2016)

election results: House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPD 115, DPJ 59, New Komeito 20, Your Party 18, JCP 11, JRP 9, SDP 3, others 4, independents 3

House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - LDP 61.26%, DPJ 15.37%, JIP 8.63%, New Komeito 7.37%, JCP 4.42%, PFG .42%, SDP .42%, PLP .42%, independents 1.68%; seats by party - LDP 291, DPJ 73, JIP 41, New Komeito 35, JCP 21, PFG 2, SDP 2, PLP 2, independents 8

note: the 2013 amended electoral law - effective for the December 2016 election - reduced to 475 the number of seats in the House of Representatives

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Saiko saibansho (consists of the chief justice and 14 associate justices); note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in constitutional issues

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice designated by the Cabinet and appointed by the monarch; associate justices appointed by the Cabinet and confirmed by the monarch; all justices are reviewed in a popular referendum at the first general election of the House of Representatives following each judge's appointment and every 10 years afterward

subordinate courts: 8 High Courts (Koto-saiban-sho), each with a Family Court (Katei-saiban-sho); 50 District Courts (Chiho saibansho), with 203 additional branches; 438 Summary Courts (Kani saibansho)

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ [Banri KAIEDA]

Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]

Japan Innovation Party or JIP [Kenji EDA]

Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Shinzo ABE]

New Komeito or NK [Natsuo YAMAGUCHI]

Party for Future Generations or PFG [Shintaro ISHIHARA]

People's Life Party or PLP [Ichiro OZAWA]

Social Democratic Party or SDP [Tadatomo YOSHIDA]

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: business groups; trade unions

International organization participation

ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CICA (observer), CP, CPLP (associate), EAS, EBRD, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Flag description

white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center

National symbol(s)

red sun disc, chrysanthemum; national colors: red, white

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; there is some opposition to the anthem because of its association with militarism and worship of the emperor


Economy - overview

In the years following World War II, government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (1% of GDP) helped Japan develop an advanced economy. Two notable characteristics of the post-war economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features are now eroding under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.

Scarce in many natural resources, Japan has long been dependent on imported raw materials. Since the complete shutdown of Japan’s nuclear reactors after the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, Japan's industrial sector has become even more dependent than it was previously on imported fossil fuels. A small agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among the highest in the world. While self-sufficient in rice production, Japan imports about 60% of its food on a caloric basis.

For three decades, overall real economic growth had been impressive - a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s, and a 4% average in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of the aftereffects of inefficient investment and an asset price bubble in the late 1980s that required a protracted period of time for firms to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor. Modest economic growth continued after 2000, but the economy has fallen into recession four times since 2008. Government stimulus spending helped the economy recover in late 2009 and 2010, but the economy contracted again in 2011 as the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in March of that year disrupted manufacturing. The economy has largely recovered in the four years since the disaster, although reconstruction in the affected Tohoku region has lagged, in part due to a shortage of labor in the construction sector.

Japan enjoyed a sharp uptick in growth in 2013 on the basis of Prime Minister Shinzo ABE’s “Three Arrows” economic revitalization agenda - dubbed “Abenomics” - of monetary easing, “flexible” fiscal policy, and structural reform. In 2015, ABE revised his “Three arrows” to: growth in nominal GDP to 600 trillion yen, support for child-rearing, and a stable social security system. ABE’s government has replaced the preceding administration’s plan to phase out nuclear power with a new policy of seeking to restart nuclear power plants that meet strict new safety standards, and emphasizing nuclear energy’s importance as a base-load electricity source. Japan successfully restarted two nuclear reactors at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima prefecture. Japan joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in 2013, a pact that would open Japan's economy to increased foreign competition and create new export opportunities for Japanese businesses.

Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, Japan in 2015 stood as the fourth-largest economy in the world after first-place China, which surpassed Japan in 2001, and third-place India, which edged out Japan in 2012. While seeking to stimulate and reform the economy, the government must also devise a strategy for reining in Japan's huge government debt, which amounts to more than 230% of GDP. To help raise government revenue, Japan adopted legislation in 2012 to gradually raise the consumption tax rate to 10% by 2015, beginning with a hike from 5% to 8% implemented in April 2014. That increase had a contractionary effect on GDP, however, so PM ABE in late 2014 decided to postpone the final phase of the increase until April 2017 to give the economy more time to recover. Led by the Bank of Japan’s aggressive monetary easing, Japan is making progress in ending deflation, but demographics - low birthrate and an aging, shrinking population - pose major long-term challenges for the economy.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 5/230

$4.658 trillion (2015 est.)

$4.631 trillion (2014 est.)

$4.613 trillion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$4.127 trillion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 191/225

0.6% (2015 est.)

1.6% (2014 est.)

0.8% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 42/230

$38,200 (2015 est.)

$36,400 (2014 est.)

$36,200 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 51/179

24.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

22.4% of GDP (2014 est.)

22% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 59.6%

government consumption: 20.4%

investment in fixed capital: 21.2%

investment in inventories: -0.3%

exports of goods and services: 18.5%

imports of goods and services: -19.4%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.2%

industry: 26.6%

services: 72.2% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

vegetables, rice, fish, poultry, fruit, dairy products, pork, beef, flowers, potatoes/taros/yams, sugar cane, tea, legumes, wheat and barley


among world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods

Industrial production growth rate 155/202

0.7% (2015 est.)

Labor force 9/233

64.32 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 2.9%

industry: 26.2%

services: 70.9% (February 2015 est.)

Unemployment rate 28/207

3.3% (2015 est.)

3.6% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

16.1% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.7%

highest 10%: 24.8% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 74/144

37.9 (2011)

24.9 (1993)


revenues: $1.439 trillion

expenditures: $1.705 trillion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 61/219

35% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 189/220

-6.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 1/176

227.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

226% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 62/226

0.7% (2015 est.)

2.7% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 131/156

0.3% (31 December 2014)

0.3% (31 December 2013)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 183/184

1.48% (31 December 2015 est.)

1.48% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 3/192

$4.902 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$4.896 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 4/193

$8.073 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$8.035 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 4/191

$10.81 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$10.9 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 4/121

$4.782 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$4.584 trillion (31 December 2013)

$3.715 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance 4/197

$124.3 billion (2015 est.)

$24.4 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 5/224

$624 billion (2015 est.)

$699.5 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

motor vehicles 14.9%; iron and steel products 5.4%; semiconductors 5%; auto parts 4.8%; power generating machinery 3.5%; plastic materials 3.3% (2014 est.)

Exports - partners

US 20%, China 17%, South Korea 7%, Taiwan 6%, Hong Kong 6%, Thailand 5% (2015)

Imports 5/223

$625.4 billion (2015 est.)

$798.6 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

petroleum 16.1%; liquid natural gas 9.1%; clothing 3.8%; semiconductors 3.3%; coal 2.4%; audio and visual apparatus 1.4% (2014 est.)

Imports - partners

China 25%, US 10%, Australia 5%, South Korea 4%, Saudi Arabia 4%, UAE 4%, Taiwan 4% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 2/170

$1.261 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.267 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 6/206

$5.18 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

$4.026 trillion (31 December 2012)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 28/120

$217.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$193.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 8/105

$1.313 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.193 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

yen (JPY) per US dollar -

122.1 (2015 est.)

105.86 (2014 est.)

97.44 (2013 est.)

79.79 (2012 est.)

79.81 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 6/220

966.4 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 5/219

921 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 154/218

0 kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports 164/219

0 kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 4/214

293.3 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 123/214

64.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 14/214

15.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 120/214

7.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 65/212

3.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 84/214

4,666 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 141/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - imports 4/214

3.441 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 51/215

541.6 million bbl (March, 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 6/214

3.294 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 4/212

4.297 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 25/214

324,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 5/213

1.103 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production 52/216

4.728 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 6/215

134.3 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 122/215

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 2/214

128.3 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 76/212

20.9 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 6/212

1.276 billion Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 4/219

total subscriptions: 63.61 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 50 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 8/217

total: 152.7 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: excellent domestic and international service

domestic: high level of modern technology and excellent service of every kind

international: country code - 81; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 7 Intelsat (Pacific and Indian Oceans), 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region), 2 Inmarsat (Pacific and Indian Ocean regions), and 8 SkyPerfect JSAT (2012)

Broadcast media

a mixture of public and commercial broadcast TV and radio stations; 6 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 (2012)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 215 (plus 370 repeaters), FM 89 (plus 485 repeaters), shortwave 21 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

211; note - in addition, US Forces are served by 3 TV stations and 2 TV cable services (1999)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 2/232

64.453 million (2012)

Internet users 5/217

total: 109.3 million

percent of population: 86.0% (2014 est.)


Airports 33/236

175 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 142

over 3,047 m: 6

2,438 to 3,047 m: 45

1,524 to 2,437 m: 38

914 to 1,523 m: 28

under 914 m: 25 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 33

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 28 (2013)


16 (2013)


gas 4,456 km; oil 174 km; oil/gas/water 104 km (2013)

Railways 11/136

total: 27,155 km

standard gauge: 4,343 km 1.435-m gauge (4,343 km electrified)

dual gauge: 132 km 1.435-1.067-m gauge (132 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 96 km 1.372-m gauge (96 km electrified); 22,536 km 1.067-m gauge (13,253 km electrified); 48 km 0.762-m gauge (48 km electrified) (2012)

Roadways 6/223

total: 1,217,128 km

paved: 988,536 km (includes 7,803 km of expressways)

unpaved: 228,592 km (2013)

Waterways 44/107

1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2010)

Merchant marine 16/156

total: 684

by type: bulk carrier 168, cargo 34, carrier 3, chemical tanker 29, container 2, liquefied gas 58, passenger 11, passenger/cargo 117, petroleum tanker 152, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 52, vehicle carrier 54

registered in other countries: 3,122 (Bahamas 88, Bermuda 2, Burma 1, Cambodia 1, Cayman Islands 23, China 2, Cyprus 16, Honduras 4, Hong Kong 79, Indonesia 8, Isle of Man 19, Liberia 110, Luxembourg 3, Malaysia 2, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 59, Mongolia 2, Netherlands 1, Panama 2372, Philippines 77, Portugal 9, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Sierra Leone 4, Singapore 164, South Korea 14, Tanzania 1, UK 5, Vanuatu 39, unknown 7) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Chiba, Kawasaki, Kobe, Mizushima, Moji, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Tomakomai, Yokohama

container port(s) (TEUs): Kobe (2,725,304), Nagoya (2,471,821), Osaka (2,172,797), Tokyo (4,416,119), Yokohama (2,992,517)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Chita, Fukwoke, Futtsu, Hachinone, Hakodate, Hatsukaichi, Higashi Ohgishima, Higashi Niigata, Himeiji, Joetsu, Kagoshima, Kawagoe, Kita Kyushu, Mizushima, Nagasaki, Naoetsu, Negishi, Ohgishima, Oita, Sakai, Sakaide, Senboku, Shimizu, Shin Minato, Sodegaura, Tobata, Yanai, Yokkaichi; Okinawa - Nakagusuku

Military and Security

Military branches

Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD): Ground Self-Defense Force (Rikujou Jieitai, GSDF), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijou Jieitai, MSDF), Air Self-Defense Force (Koukuu Jieitai, ASDF) (2011)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; mandatory retirement at age 53 for senior enlisted personnel and at 62 years for senior service officers (2012)

Military expenditures 102/132

0.97% of GDP (2012)

1.01% of GDP (2011)

0.99% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

the sovereignty dispute over the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan, and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the "Northern Territories" and in Russia as the "Southern Kuril Islands," occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities; Japan and South Korea claim Liancourt Rocks (Take-shima/Tok-do) occupied by South Korea since 1954; the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 635 (2014)