Japan

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 127.8
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 66%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.1%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km˛) : 377,8


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Japanese 98.9 %
Korean 0.5 %
Chinese 0.3 %
Other 0.3 %



Main Cities Population
Tokyo 8 535 792
Yokohama 3 602 758
Osaka 2 635 420
Nagoya 2 223 148
Sapporo 1 888 953
Kobe 1 528 687



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Tokyo (GMT+9 ).



Languages
Official language: Japanese
You should find in most companies an English-speaking person. It is however highly recommended to use the services of an interpreter in case of negotiations.
Japanese has one of the most complex writing systems in the world

Free translation tools

Systran
Free English-Japanese-English translator of texts and web pages

Tranexp
Free English-Japanese-English translator of texts and web pages





Religion
Religious practises : Shintoïsts 40.3%
Buddhists 39 %
Others 16.6%
Christians 4.1%


Political context

Japan is a constitutional monarchy having parliamentary democracy.The country’s political system is largely based upon the British system with strong influences from European civil law countries.
The chief of state is the Emperor. His role is largely ceremonial. The leader of the majority party or leader of the majority coalition in the parliament (House of Representatives) is designated as the Prime Minister for a four-year term. Prime Minister is the head of the government and enjoys the real executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. Cabinet is appointed by the Prime Minister.
The legislature in Japan is bicameral. The parliament called National Diet consists of: House of Councillors (the upper house) having 242 members elected through a popular vote for six year terms; and House of Representatives (the lower house) having 480 members elected through a popular vote for four-year terms. The Constitution of Japan states that the nation's "highest organ of state power" is National Diet. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the National Diet, often expressed through a vote of confidence. The people of Japan have considerable political rights.
Judiciary is independent in Japan. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1947. The legal system is modelled after European civil law system with English-American influence. Laws also originate from the judicial reviews of various legislative acts by the country’s Supreme Court. Japan accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations. Japanese is the judicial language in the country; getting an interpreter is not so easy but still possible.
Japan is ruled by law. Foreign nationals can generally expect a free trial from country’s judicial system. Overall the corruption in Japan is under control, but the country’s bureaucracy lacks transparency. Bid-rigging is a common problem in the country's numerous large public works projects.


Major political parties

The major political parties in Japan are:
- LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) - a conservative, right-wing political part made up of various conservative and reformist factions;
- DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) – a liberal, social-democratic party, opposes Iraq war;
- New Komeito – a conservative, theocratic Buddhist party;
- JCP (Japan Communist Party) – a moderate communist party of left-wing;
- SDP (Social Democratic Party) – a moderate social-democratic and populist party.
The LDP is the largest political party in Japan.


Major political leaders

Emperor: AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989) – hereditary
Prime Minister: Junichiro KOIZUMI (since April 2001, re-elected in September 2005) – LDP, heading a coalition government with New Komeito


Next political election dates




Climate

 

 

The climate is very complex over there: the island is mountainous, the archipelago is very stretched, and the huge continental mass quite close... The North benefits from short summers and long and snowy winters, whereas the islands in the South are warmer and more humid. Over the winter, the cold and dry air coming from Siberia meets the clammy air masses coming from the Pacific, provoking large-scale snowfalls in the West of the country. Summertime is dominated by the warm and humid air of the Pacific, entailing some high temperatures and an important humidity rate. The end of the summer brings cyclones - the coasts then undergo torrential rains and very heavy winds.

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Japan 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 6,138 6,728 7,334
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
Tokyo: almost completely reconstructed after the 1923 earthquake and the bombings of WW2, Tokyo splits into shiny brand new commercial and business districts, on the West of Ginza's central district, and more usual residential zones, in the East. Most tourist places are located on the JR Yamanote line, the railway which surrounds the city center.
Kyoto which shelters hundred of temples and gardens, was the imperial capital from 794 to 1868 and always stands as the cultural heart of the country. In spite of the assaults of modernism, it preserved its well-raked gardens, its sensual roofs which used to shelter the geishas... The imperial Palace is one of the rare sites which is located in Kyoto's centre; it is in the East district, and notably in Higashiyama, that you will admire some luxurious temples, which shelter the 1,001 statues of the Buddhist goddess of Mercy. The Northwest of the city shelters some magnificent Zen temples, and in particular the Kinkaku-ji temple, which was burned by a mad monk in 1950, reconstructed since and covered with golden sheets.
The Takao's district is famous for the magnificent colors of its autumnal foliage, whereas the Himeji-jo's castle, quite close from Kyoto, is the most beautiful castle of Japan.
The Mount Fuji : highest mountain in Japan (3,776 m), the Mount Fuji is the only natural site that tourists absolutely want to visit. "Fuji-san" is a perfectly symmetric volcanic cone of which the summit exploded for the last time in 1707, covering with ashes the streets of Tokyo which is a 100 km away.
The Daisetsuzan's national park is the biggest national park: with its 2,309 km˛ , it's located in the center of Hakkaido, the most up north island of the country. This park constitutes an ideal place to practise trekking and skiing. The Noto-Hanto's peninsula, which is perched in the North of the Honshu island can offer you some wild landscapes, an outlook of the traditional rural life and of some cultural sites altogether. Its Occidental bank is less developed than the Oriental one, but it is more interesting.

For more information about tourism in Japan , check out the following web site(s) :
Japan National Tourist Organization



Food


Traditional dishes
Japanese food has more dishes than the perpetual sushis and other sukiyaki. Except for the shokudo (general-purpose establishments) and the izakaya (equivalent to English pubs, but with food), most restaurants specialize in a single style of food: the okonomiyaki offers a mixture of meats, seafood and vegetables fried in cabbage; the robatayaki is a rural establishment that specializes in grills... You can eat for a reasonable price in modest shokudos or by choosing the bento (set menus) in the cafeteria-style restaurants. To drink is a kind of social disposition: everybody devotes himself to it. Beer can be found everywhere, as much in temples than in slot machines. The Japanese tea is green, refreshing and wholesome; it contains a lot of caffeine and C vitamin. The sake (alcohol of rice) can either be drunk cold or warm. It should be pointed out that Japanese meal does not include any dessert except in rare occasions. Japanese usually finish their meal with a seasonal fruit: Japanese pear, khaki , etc.


Last modified on December 2006

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