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The World Factbook (1990)/Japan



World Factbook (1990) Japan.jpg

 See regional map VIII


Total area: 377,835 km²; land area: 374,744 km²; includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-guntō), Daitō-shotō, Minamijima, Okinotori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shotō), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-rettō)

Comparative area: slightly smaller than California

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 29,751 km

Maritime claims:

Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm (3 nm in international straits—La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait)

Disputes: Habomai Islands, Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan Islands occupied by Soviet Union since 1945, claimed by Japan; Kuril Islands administered by Soviet Union; Liancourt Rocks disputed with South Korea; Senkaku-shotō (Senkaku Islands) claimed by China and Taiwan

Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous

Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish

Land use: 13% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 1% meadows and pastures; 67% forest and woodland; 18% other; includes 9% irrigated

Environment: many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; subject to tsunamis

Note: strategic location in northeast Asia


Population: 123,642,461 (July 1990), growth rate 0.4% (1990)

Birth rate: 11 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 5 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 76 years male, 82 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Japanese (sing., pl.); adjective—Japanese

Ethnic divisions: 99.4% Japanese, 0.6% other (mostly Korean)

Religion: most Japanese observe both Shinto and Buddhist rites; about 16% belong to other faiths, including 0.8% Christian

Language: Japanese

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 63,330,000; 54% trade and services; 33% manufacturing, mining, and construction; 7% agriculture, forestry, and fishing; 3% government (1988)

Organized labor: about 29% of employed workers; 76.4% public service, 57.9% transportation and telecommunications, 48.7% mining, 33.7% manufacturing, 18.2% services, 9.3% wholesale, retail, and restaurant


Long-form name: none

Type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Tokyo

Administrative divisions: 47 prefectures (fuken, singular and plural); Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gumma, Hiroshima, Hokkaidō, Hyōgo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kōchi, Kumamoto, Kyōto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Ōita, Okayama, Okinawa, Ōsaka, Saga, Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tōkyō, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi

Independence: 660 BC, traditional founding by Emperor Jimmu; 3 May 1947, constitutional monarchy established

Constitution: 3 May 1947

Legal system: civil law system with English-American influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Birthday of the Emperor, 23 December (1933)

Executive branch: emperor, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Diet (Kokkai) consists of an upper house or House of Councillors (Sangi-in) and a lower house or House of Representatives (Shūgi-in)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Toshiki KAIFU (since 9 August 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Toshiki Kaifu, president; Japan Socialist Party (JSP), T. Doi, chairman; Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), Eiichi Nagasue, chairman; Japan Communist Party (JCP), K. Miyamoto, Presidium chairman; Komeito (Clean Government Party, CGP), Koshiro Ishida, chairman

Suffrage: universal at age 20

Elections: House of Councillors—last held on 23 July 1989 (next to be held 23 July 1992); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(252 total, 100 elected) LDP 109, JSP 67, CGP 21, JCP 14, others 33;

House of Representatives—last held on 18 February 1990 (next to be held by February 1993); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(512 total) LDP 275, JSP 136, CGP 45, JCP 16, JDSP 14, other parties 5, independents 21; note—nine independents are expected to join the LDP, five the JSP

Communists: about 470,000 registered Communist party members

Member of: ADB, ASPAC, CCC, Colombo Plan, DAC, ESCAP, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, ICO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, ILZSG, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, IRC, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Nobuo MATSUNAGA; Chancery at 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 939-6700; there are Japanese Consulates General in Agana (Guam), Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City (Missouri), Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland (Oregon), and a Consulate in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands); US—Ambassador Michael H. ARMACOST; Embassy at 10-1, Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku (107), Tokyo (mailing address is APO San Francisco 96503); telephone [81](3) 224-5000; there are US Consulates General in Naha, Osaka-Kobe, and Sapporo and a Consulate in Fukuoka

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


Overview: Although Japan has few natural resources, since 1971 it has become the world's third-largest industrial economy, ranking behind only the US and the USSR. Government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, and a comparatively small defense allocation have helped Japan advance rapidly, notably in high-technology fields. Industry, the most important sector of the economy, is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. Self-sufficient in rice, Japan must import 50% of its requirements for other grain and fodder crops. Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the total global catch. Overall economic growth has been spectacular: a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1989 strong investment and consumption spending helped maintain growth at nearly 5%. Inflation remains low at 2.1% despite high oil prices and a somewhat weaker yen. Japan continues to run a huge trade surplus, $60 billion in 1989, which supports extensive investment in foreign properties.

GNP: $1,914.1 billion, per capita $15,600; real growth rate 4.8% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.1% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 2.3% (1989)

Budget: revenues $392 billion; expenditures $464 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY89)

Exports: $270 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—manufactures 97% (including machinery 38%, motor vehicles 17%, consumer electronics 10%); partners—US 34%, Southeast Asia 22%, Western Europe 21%, Communist countries 5%, Middle East 5%

Imports: $210 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—manufactures 42%, fossil fuels 30%, foodstuffs 15%, nonfuel raw materials 13%; partners—Southeast Asia 23%, US 23%, Middle East 15%, Western Europe 16%, Communist countries 7%

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate 9.0% (1989)

Electricity: 191,000,000 kW capacity; 700,000 million kWh produced, 5,680 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: metallurgy, engineering, electrical and electronic, textiles, chemicals, automobiles, fishing

Agriculture: accounts for 3% of GNP; highly subsidized and protected sector, with crop yields among highest in world; principal crops—rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit; animal products include pork, poultry, dairy and eggs; about 50% self-sufficient in food production; shortages of wheat, corn, soybeans; world's largest fish catch of 11.8 million metric tons in 1987

Aid: donor—ODA and OOF commitments (1970-87), $57.5 billion

Currency: yen (plural yen); 1 yen (¥) = 100 sen

Exchange rates: yen (¥) per US$1—145.09 (January 1990), 137.96 (1989), 128.15 (1988), 144.64 (1987), 168.52 (1986), 238.54 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: 27,327 km total; 2,012 km 1.435-meter standard gauge and 25,315 km predominantly 1.067-meter narrow gauge; 5,724 km doubletrack and multitrack sections, 9,038 km 1.067-meter narrow-gauge electrified, 2,012 km 1.435-meter standard-gauge electrified (1987)

Highways: 1,098,900 km total; 718,700 km paved, 380,200 km gravel, crushed stone, or unpaved; 3,900 km national expressways, 46,544 km national highways, 43,907 km principal local roads, 86,930 km prefectural roads, and 917,619 other (1987)

Inland waterways: about 1,770 km; seagoing craft ply all coastal inland seas

Pipelines: crude oil, 84 km; refined products, 322 km; natural gas, 1,800 km

Ports: Chiba, Muroran, Kitakyushu, Kobe, Tomakomai, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Yokkaichi, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Niigata, Fushiki-Toyama, Shimizu, Himeji, Wakayama-Shimozu, Shimonoseki, Tokuyama-Shimomatsu

Merchant marine: 1,088 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 23,597,688 GRT/36,655,266 DWT; includes 7 passenger, 57 short-sea passenger, 4 passenger cargo, 108 cargo, 44 container, 27 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 135 refrigerated cargo, 117 vehicle carrier, 237 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 21 chemical tanker, 42 liquefied gas, 12 combination ore/oil, 3 specialized tanker, 272 bulk, 1 combination bulk, 1 multifunction large-load carrier

Civil air: 341 major transport aircraft

Airports: 165 total, 156 usable; 128 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 27 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 55 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent domestic and international service; 64,000,000 telephones; stations—318 AM, 58 FM, 12,350 TV (196 major—1 kw or greater); satellite earth stations—4 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT and 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT; submarine cables to US (via Guam), Philippines, China, and USSR

Defense Forces

Branches: Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (army), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (navy), Japan Air Self-Defense Force (air force), Maritime Safety Agency (coast guard)

Military manpower: males 15-49, 32,181,866; 27,695,890 fit for military service; 1,004,052 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 1% of GNP (1989 est.)