Japan, See : Flags, Maps

Artist, Art , Japan

Japan , David Murray

Japan, Dorothy Menpes

The Spell of Japan, by Isabel Anderson

Shinto, William George Aston

Religion in Japan , George A. Cobbold, B.A.

A History of the Japanese People , F. Brinkley and Dairoku Kikuchi

Japanese Colour-Prints and Their Designers by Frederick Gookin

Plays of Old Japan, by Marie C. Stopes

The Nō Plays of Japan , Motokiyo Seami and Arthur Waley

The Religion of the Samurai, by Kaiten Nukariya

Bushido, the Soul of Japan, by Inazo Nitobé


Japan, Aimé Humbert

Japan (East & Southeast Asia)

Introduction ::Japan

Japan National Anthem

Background: This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends. Background field listing

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. Prime Minister ABE Shinzo was reelected to office in December 2012, and embarked on ambitious economic and security reforms to improve Japan's economy and bolster the country's international standing. In November 2019, ABE became Japan's longest-serving post-war prime minister; he resigned in September 2020 and was succeeded by SUGA Yoshihide. KISHIDA Fumio became prime minister in October 2021.


The great wave

Geography ::Japan

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Geography :: Japan

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
Map references


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)

comparison ranking: total 63
Area - comparative

slightly smaller than California
Area comparison map:
Area comparison map
Land boundaries

total: 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 the Korea and Tsushima Straits

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

mostly rugged and mountainous

highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m

lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m

mean elevation: 438 m
Natural resources

negligible mineral resources, fish; note - with virtually no natural energy resources, Japan is almost totally dependent on foreign, imported sources of energy
Land use

agricultural land: 12.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 68.5% (2018 est.)

other: 19% (2018 est.)
Irrigated land

15,730 sq km (2014)
Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Biwa-ko 688 sq km
Population distribution

all primary and secondary regions of high population density lie on the coast; one-third of the population resides in and around Tokyo on the central plain (Kanto Plain)
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 (1,500 m) and Sakura-jima (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; see note 2 under "Geography - note"
Geography - note

note 1: strategic location in northeast Asia; composed of four main islands (the "Home Islands") - from north: Hokkaido, Honshu (the largest, most populous, and site of Tokyo, the capital), Shikoku, and Kyushu

note 2: a 2023 Geospatial Information Authority of Japan survey technically detected 100,000 islands and islets, but only the 14,125 islands with a circumference of at least 100 m (330 ft) were officially counted; only about 260 of the islands are inhabited

note 3: Japan annually records the most earthquakes in the world; it is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire


Late 19th Century. Japan , Late 19th Century. Japan,


People and Society

123,719,238 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 11

noun: Japanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Japanese
Ethnic groups

Japanese 97.9%, Chinese 0.6%, Korean 0.4%, other 1.1% (includes Vietnamese, Filipino, and Brazilian) (2017 est.)

note: data represent population by nationality; up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil


major-language sample(s):

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Japanese audio sample:

Shintoism 70.5%, Buddhism 67.2%, Christianity 1.5%, other 5.9% (2019 est.)

note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people practice both Shintoism and Buddhism
Age structure

0-14 years: 12.29% (male 7,835,474/female 7,370,449)

15-64 years: 58.49% (male 36,378,186/female 35,981,176)

65 years and over: 29.22% (2023 est.) (male 15,909,031/female 20,244,922)
2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid
Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 71.1

youth dependency ratio: 20.1

elderly dependency ratio: 51

potential support ratio: 2 (2021 est.)
Median age

total: 48.6 years

male: 47.2 years

female: 50 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 2
Population growth rate

-0.41% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 220
Birth rate

6.9 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 225
Death rate

11.74 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 16
Net migration rate

0.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 70
Population distribution

all primary and secondary regions of high population density lie on the coast; one-third of the population resides in and around Tokyo on the central plain (Kanto Plain)

urban population: 92% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.25% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030
Major urban areas - population

37.194 million TOKYO (capital), 19.013 million Osaka, 9.569 million Nagoya, 5.490 million Kitakyushu-Fukuoka, 2.937 million Shizuoka-Hamamatsu, 2.666 million Sapporo (2023)
Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2023 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth

30.7 years (2018 est.)
Maternal mortality ratio

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 173
Infant mortality rate

total: 1.88 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 1.99 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 1.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 223
Life expectancy at birth

total population: 85 years

male: 82.11 years

female: 88.06 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 4
Total fertility rate

1.39 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 215
Gross reproduction rate

0.68 (2023 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate

39.8% (2015)

note: percent of women aged 20-49
Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 99.1% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)
Current health expenditure

10.9% of GDP (2020)
Physicians density

2.48 physicians/1,000 population (2018)
Hospital bed density

13 beds/1,000 population (2018)
Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate

4.3% (2016)

comparison ranking: 186
Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 8.36 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.35 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.29 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.63 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 5.09 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 39
Tobacco use

total: 20.1% (2020 est.)

male: 30.1% (2020 est.)

female: 10% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 89
Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

46.8% (2023 est.)
Education expenditures

3.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 142

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 15 years

female: 15 years (2019)
Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 4.4%

male: 4.6%

female: 4.1% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 191
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 originally planned to phase out nuclear power, but it has now implemented a new policy of seeking to restart nuclear power plants that meet strict new safety standards; waste management is an ongoing issue; Japanese municipal facilities used to burn high volumes of trash, but air pollution issues forced the government to adopt an aggressive recycling policy
Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
Land use

agricultural land: 12.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 68.5% (2018 est.)

other: 19% (2018 est.)

urban population: 92% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.25% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030
Revenue from forest resources

0.02% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 138
Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 137
Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 11.45 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1,135.89 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 29.99 megatons (2020 est.)
Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 43.981 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 2,155,069 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 4.9% (2015 est.)
Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Biwa-ko 688 sq km
Total water withdrawal

municipal: 14.8 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 10.3 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 53.3 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)
Total renewable water resources

430 billion cubic meters (2020 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

parliamentary 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)

etymology: originally known as Edo, meaning "estuary" in Japanese, the name was changed to Tokyo, meaning "eastern capital," in 1868
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: 11 February 660 B.C. (mythological date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)
National holiday

Birthday of Emperor NARUHITO, 23 February (1960); note - celebrates the birthday of the current emperor

history: previous 1890; latest approved 6 October 1946, adopted 3 November 1946, effective 3 May 1947

amendments: proposed by the Diet; passage requires approval by at least two-thirds majority of both houses of the Diet and approval by majority in a referendum; note - the constitution has not been amended since its enactment in 1947
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

18 years of age; universal
Executive branch

chief of state: Emperor NARUHITO (since 1 May 2019); note - succeeds his father who abdicated on 30 April 2019

head of government: Prime Minister Fumio KISHIDA (since 4 October 2021 )

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

election results: Fumio KISHIDA reelected prime minister on 10 November 2021; upper house vote - Fumio KISHIDA (LDP) 141, Yukio EDANO 60 (CDP); lower house vote - Fumio KISHIDA 297, Yukio EDANO 108
Legislative branch

description: bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of:
House of Councillors or Sangi-in (248 seats; 146 members directly elected in multi-seat districts by simple majority vote and 96 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with half the membership renewed every 3 years); note - the number of seats increased to 248 at the July 2022 election for renewal of half the membership
House of Representatives or Shugi-in (465 seats; 289 members directly elected in single-seat districts by simple majority vote and 176 directly elected in multi-seat districts by party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

House of Councillors - last held on 10 July 2022 (next to be held in July 2028)
House of Representatives - last held on 31 October 2021 (next to be held by October 2025)

election results:
House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LDP 119, CDP 39, Komeito 27, JCP 11, Osaka Ishin no Kai (Initiatives from Osaka) 21, DPFP 10, Reiwa Shinsengumi 5, NHK 2, DIY 1, SDP 1, independent 12
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LDP 261, CDP 96, Ishin 41, Komeito 32, DPFP 11, JCP 10, Reiwa 3, SDP 1, independent 10; composition - men 420, women 45, percent of women 9.7%; note - total Diet percent of women 14.7%

note: the Diet in June 2017 redrew Japan's electoral district boundaries and reduced from 475 to 465 seats in the House of Representatives; the amended electoral law, which cuts 6 seats in single-seat districts and 4 in multi-seat districts, was reportedly intended to reduce voting disparities between densely and sparsely populated voting districts
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

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan or CDP [Kenta IZUMI]
Democratic Party for the People Japan or DPFP [Yuichiro TAMAKI]
Group of Reformists [Sakihito OZAWA]
Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]
Japan Innovation Party or Nippon Ishin no kai or Ishin [Ichiro MATSUI]
Komeito [Natsuo YAMAGUCHI]
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Fumio KISHIDA]
Liberal Party [Ichiro OZAWA] (formerly People's Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends or PLPTYF)
Party of Hope or Kibo no To [Nariaki NAKAYAMA]
Reiwa Shinsengumi [Taro YAMAMOTO]
Sanseitō or DIY [Sohei KAMIYA]
Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA]
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), Quad, SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador TOMITA Koji (since 17 February 2021)

chancery: 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 238-6700

FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Anchorage (AK), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver (CO), Detroit (MI), Hagatna (Guam), Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville (TN), New York, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), Seattle (WA)
Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Rahm EMANUEL (since 25 March 2022)

embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420

mailing address: 9800 Tokyo Place, Washington DC 20521-9800

telephone: [81] (03) 3224-5000

FAX: [81] (03) 3224-5856

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo

consulate(s): Fukuoka, Nagoya
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
Kikumon – the Japanese Family Coat of Arms of the emperor:
Kikumon – the Japanese Family Coat of Arms of the emperor
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
National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 25 (20 cultural, 5 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area (c); Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (c); Himeji-jo (c); Shiretoko (n); Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan (c); Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape (c); Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan (c); Yakushima (n); Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (c); Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) (c)
Economic overview

fourth-largest, trade-oriented, and diversified economy; highly indebted country; slow wage growth and declining labor force; still heavily hydrocarbon-reliant; central bank keeping negative interest rates amid modest inflation; increased military spending; stagnant tourism sector
Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$5.126 trillion (2021 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars
$5.042 trillion (2020 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars
$5.28 trillion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 4
Real GDP growth rate

1.66% (2021 est.)
-4.51% (2020 est.)
-0.24% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 170
Real GDP per capita

$40,800 (2021 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars
$39,900 (2020 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars
$41,700 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 47
GDP (official exchange rate)

$5,078,679,000,000 (2019 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.23% (2021 est.)
-0.02% (2020 est.)
0.47% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 217
Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A (2015)

Moody's rating: A1 (2014)

Standard & Poors rating: A+ (2015)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.
GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 30.1% (2017 est.)

services: 68.7% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 78; industry 76; agriculture 197
GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 55.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 19.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 17.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -16.8% (2017 est.)
Agricultural products

rice, milk, sugar beets, vegetables, eggs, poultry, potatoes, cabbages, onions, pork

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

-4.33% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 186
Labor force

68.629 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 9
Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 2.9%

industry: 26.2%

services: 70.9% (February 2015 est.)
Unemployment rate

2.8% (2021 est.)
2.8% (2020 est.)
2.4% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 199
Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 4.4%

male: 4.6%

female: 4.1% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 191
Population below poverty line

16.1% (2013 est.)
Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

32.9 (2013 est.)

comparison ranking: 126
Average household expenditures

on food: 16% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2.3% of household expenditures (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.7%

highest 10%: 24.8% (2008)

revenues: $1.756 trillion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $1.916 trillion (2019 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 148
Public debt

216.28% of GDP (2020 est.)
197.8% of GDP (2019 est.)
197.45% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 2
Taxes and other revenues

35.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 19
Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March
Current account balance

$157.743 billion (2021 est.)
$147.948 billion (2020 est.)
$176.61 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 3

$919.158 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$794.291 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$904.632 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 5
Exports - partners

China 21%, US 18%, South Korea 7%, Taiwan 7%, Thailand 4% (2021)
Exports - commodities

cars and vehicle parts, integrated circuits, general machinery, photo lab equipment, construction vehicles, semiconductors (2021)

$941.671 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$801.889 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars
$913.248 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 5
Imports - partners

China 24%, US 10%, Australia 7%, South Korea 4%, Taiwan 4% (2021)
Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, integrated circuits, coal, refined petroleum, iron (2021)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.406 trillion (31 December 2021 est.)
$1.391 trillion (31 December 2020 est.)
$1.322 trillion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 2
Debt - external

$4,254,271,000,000 (2019 est.)
$3,944,898,000,000 (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 7
Exchange rates

yen (JPY) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
109.754 (2021 est.)
106.775 (2020 est.)
109.01 (2019 est.)
110.423 (2018 est.)
112.166 (2017 est.)
Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

installed generating capacity: 348.666 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 903,698,740,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 44.094 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 156; exports 143; installed generating capacity 4; transmission/distribution losses 7; consumption 5
Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 73.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 4.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 8.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 10% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)
Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 10 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 2

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 9.49GW (2023)

Percent of total electricity production: 7% (2018)

Percent of total energy produced: 24% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 17

production: 29.84 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 210.882 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 3.201 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 174.486 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 350 million metric tons (2019 est.)

total petroleum production: 10,200 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 3,739,300 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 3,012,800 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 44.1 million barrels (2021 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production

3.467 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 5
Refined petroleum products - exports

370,900 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 24
Refined petroleum products - imports

1.1 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 5
Natural gas

production: 1,928,431,000 cubic meters (2020 est.)

consumption: 102,108,738,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 28,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 105,255,103,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 20.898 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

note: Japan had been the largest global liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer until 2021 when it was exceeded by China; prior to 2021, Japan had been the largest importer of LNG for 51 years; Japan has the largest LNG storage tank capacity in the world, or about 643 million cubic feet (MMcf) as of early 2020; in 2019, Japan sourced 28% of its LNG imports from regional suppliers in Southeast Asia and 39% from Australia
Carbon dioxide emissions

1,103,234,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 439.243 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 444.271 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 219.72 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 5
Energy consumption per capita

147.107 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 35
Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 61,583,600 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 49 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 3
Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 200,478,808 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 161 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 7
Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Japan has one of the best developed telecom markets globally, the fixed-line segment remains stagnant and the focus for growth is in the mobile sector; the MNOs have shifted their investment from LTE to 5G, and growth in 5G showed early promise although there have been recent setbacks; these have partly been attributed to the economic difficulties, the impact of restrictions imposed during the pandemic, and unfavorable investment climate (not helped by the delay of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021), and to restrictions in the supply of 5G-enabled devices; the fixed broadband market is dominated by fiber, with a strong cable platform also evident; fiber will continue to increase its share of the fixed broadband market, largely at the expense of DSL; the mobile market is dominated by three MNOs, mobile broadband subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years, partly due to the high existing subscriptions though growth has been stimulated by measures which have encouraged people to school and work from home; there has also been a boost in accessing entertainment via mobile devices since 2020 (2021)

domestic: 49 per 100 for fixed-line and 161 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2021)

international: country code - 81; numerous submarine cables with landing points for HSCS, JIH, RJCN, APCN-2, JUS, EAC-C2C, PC-1, Tata TGN-Pacific, FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop, APCN-2, FASTER, SJC, SJC2, Unity/EAC-Pacific, JGA-N, APG, ASE, AJC, JUPITER, MOC, Okinawa Cellular Cable, KJCN, GOKI, KJCN, and SeaMeWE-3, submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa 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 (2019)
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 (2019)
Internet country code

Internet users

total: 99.6 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 83% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 8
Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 44,000,791 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 3
National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 22 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 673

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 126,387,527 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 9,420,660,000 (2018) mt-km
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix


175 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 32
Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)
Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control

16 (2021)

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

total: 27,311 km (2015)

standard gauge: 4,800 km (2015) 1.435-m gauge (4,800 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 124 km (2015) 1.372-m gauge (124 km electrified)

dual gauge: 132 km (2015) 1.435-1.067-m gauge (132 km electrified)

22,207 km 1.067-mm gauge (15,430 km electrified)
48 km 0.762-m gauge (48 km electrified)

comparison ranking: total 10

total: 1,218,772 km (2015)

paved: 992,835 km (2015) (includes 8,428 km of expressways)

unpaved: 225,937 km (2015)

comparison ranking: total 6

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

comparison ranking: 46
Merchant marine

total: 5,590

by type: bulk carrier 149, container ship 47, general cargo 2,071, oil tanker 690, other 2,633 (2022)

comparison ranking: total 4
Ports and terminals

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

container port(s) (TEUs): Kobe (2,823,774), Nagoya (2,725,597), Osaka (2,425,638), Tokyo (4,325,956), Yokohama (2,861,197) (2021)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Chita, Chita Midorihama, Fukuoka, Futtsu, Hachinone, Hakodate, Hatsukaichi, Higashi Ohgishima, Higashi Niigata, Himeiji, Hitachi, Ishikari, Joetsu, Kagoshima, Kawagoe, Hibiki, Mitzushima, Nagasaki, Naoetsu, Negishi, Ohgishima, Oita, Sakai, Sakaide, Senboku, Shin Minato, Shin-Sendai, Sodeshi Shimizu, Sodegaura, Soma, Tobata, Toyama Shinko, Yanai, Yokkaichi, Yoshinoura

Okinawa - Nakagusuku
Transportation - note

Japan operates one PC 3 or 4 class medium icebreaker
note - PC indicates a Polar Class vessel: PC 3 - year-round operation in second-year ice which may include multi-year ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 2.5 m); PC 4 - year-round operation in thick first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions (ice thickness up to 120 cm)
Military and Security
Military and security forces

Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF): Ground Self-Defense Force (Rikujou Jieitai, GSDF; includes aviation), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijou Jieitai, MSDF; includes naval aviation), Air Self-Defense Force (Koukuu Jieitai, ASDF) (2023)

note: the Coast Guard is under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; it is barred by law from operating as a military force, but in times of conflict Article 80 of the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Act permits the transfer of control of the coast guard to the Ministry of Defense with Cabinet approval
Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2022)
1% of GDP (2021)
1% of GDP (2020)
0.9% of GDP (2019)

note: the Japanese Government in 2022 pledged to increase defense expenditures to 2% of GDP in line with NATO standards by 2028; if the planned increase occurs, Japan would have one of the world's largest defense budgets

comparison ranking: 128
Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 230-240,000 active personnel (145-150,000 Ground; 40-45,000 Maritime; 40-45,000 Air); 14,000 Coast Guard (2023)
Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the JSDF is equipped with a mix of imported and domestically produced equipment; Japan has a robust defense industry and is capable of producing a wide range of air, ground, and naval weapons systems; the majority of its weapons imports are from the US and some domestically produced weapons are US-origin and manufactured under license (2023)
Military service age and obligation

18-32 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2023)

note: as of 2023, women made up about 9% of the military's full-time personnel
Military deployments

approximately 200 Djibouti (2023)
Military - note

Japan was disarmed after its defeat in World War II; shortly after the Korean War began in 1950, US occupation forces in Japan created a 75,000-member lightly armed force called the National Police Reserve; the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) was founded in 1954; the current JSDF is a trained and professional military equipped with modern weaponry; its primary concerns are China and North Korea, as well as protecting the country’s territorial waters, countering piracy and terrorism, and conducting humanitarian operations; it exercises regularly with the US military and increasingly with other regional countries, such as Australia; the ground forces are organized into 10 divisions and 11 independent brigades; the independent brigades include airborne, air assault, and amphibious rapid reaction forces; the maritime force is one of the largest and most modern navies in the world; its principal warships include four helicopter carriers (two are undergoing conversion to light aircraft carriers), nearly 50 destroyers and frigates/destroyer escorts, three landing platform/dock (LPD) amphibious assault ships, and more than 20 attack-type submarines; it also has a large force of maritime aircraft, including over 150 for anti-submarine warfare; the Air Self Defense Force has over 300 modern combat aircraft, as well as more than 200 other aircraft for surveillance, early warning, electronic warfare, search and rescue, transportation, and logistics

Japan’s alliance with the US (signed in 1951) is one of the cornerstones of the country’s security, as well as a large part of the US security role in Asia; approximately 55,000 US troops and other military assets, including aircraft and naval ships, are stationed in Japan and have exclusive use of more than 80 bases and facilities; in exchange for their use, the US guarantees Japan’s security; the Japanese Government provides about $2 billion per year to offset the cost of stationing US forces in Japan; in addition, it pays compensation to localities hosting US troops, rent for bases, and costs for new facilities to support the US presence; Japan also has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

Article 9 of Japan’s 1947 constitution renounced the use of force as a means of settling international disputes; however, Japan has interpreted Article 9 to mean that it can maintain a military for national defense purposes and, since 1991, has allowed the JSDF to participate in noncombat roles overseas in a number of UN peacekeeping missions and in the US-led coalition in Iraq; in 2014-2015 the Japanese Government reinterpreted the constitution as allowing for "collective self-defense," described as the use of force on others’ behalf if Japan’s security was threatened; in 2022, the government released three documents that provided a blueprint that could fundamentally reshape Japan’s approach to its security; the documents labeled China as an “unprecedented strategic challenge,” declared Japan’s intention to develop "counterstrike” capabilities, including cruise missiles and armed drones, and outlined plans to increase Japan’s security-related expenditures to 2% of its national gross domestic product (GDP), in line with NATO standards; post-war Japan generally has limited defense spending to 1% of its GDP (2023)
Space agency/agencies

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA; established in 2003); JAXA was established from the merger of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), and National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA); the military has a space operations squadron under the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to monitor and counter threats to satellites (2023)
Space launch site(s)

Tanegashima Space Center/Yoshinobu Launch Complex (Kagoshima), Uchinoura Space Center (Kagoshima), Noshiro Testing Center (Akita) (2023)
Space program overview

has one of the world’s largest and most advanced space programs with independent capabilities in all areas of space categories except for autonomous manned space flight; designs, builds, launches, and operates the full spectrum of satellites, including communications, remote sensing (RS), astronomical observation, scientific, and navigational/positional; designs, builds, and independently launches satellite/space launch vehicles (SLVs) and other spacecraft, including interplanetary and Lunar probes, space station modules and space labs, and space transportation systems; has a wide range of research and development programs, including reusable SLVs, space-based astronomy, spacecraft components, robotics, solar sails, radio waves, and space plasma; has an astronaut training program; participates in international space programs, including the International Space Station (ISS), leading the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum, and co-leading the Global Earth Observation System of Systems; cooperates with a variety of foreign space agencies and industries, including those of Canada, the European Space Agency (ESA) and its individual member states, India, Russia, the UAE, the US, and a range of other countries and space agencies throughout Africa, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions; has a substantial commercial space industry that develops an array of space-related capabilities and technologies, including satellites, satellite payloads and subcomponents, and SLVs; in 2018, the Japanese Government announced the establishment of a $950 million venture capital fund to support the development of Japanese space startup companies (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S
Transnational Issues
Disputes - international

Japan-China-Taiwan: the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Tai) are also claimed by China and Taiwan; Senkaku-shoto is situated near key shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds, and possibly significant oil and natural gas reserves

Japan-Russia: 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-South Korea: Japan and South Korea claim Liancourt Rocks (Take-shima/Tok-do) occupied by South Korea since 1954
Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 531 (2022)



Hellenica World - Scientific Library