Japan

Backgr Notes Ser. 1987 Feb;1-12.

Abstract

PIP: Japan is composed of 4 main islands and more than 3900 smaller islands and has 317.7 persons/square kilometer. This makes it one of the most densely populated nations in the world. Religion is an important force in the life of the Japanese and most consider themselves Buddhists. Schooling is free through junior high but 90% of Japanese students complete high school. In fact, Japan enjoys one of the highest literacy rates in the world. There are over 178 newspapers and 3500 magazines published in Japan and the number of new book titles issued each year is greater than that in the US. Since WW1, Japan expanded its influence in Asia and its holdings in the Pacific. However, as a direct result of WW2, Japan lost all of its overseas possessions and was able to retain only its own islands. Since 1952, Japan has been ruled by conservative governments which cooperate closely with the West. Great economic growth has come since the post-treaty period. Japan as a constitutional monarchy operates within the framework of a constitution which became effective in May 1947. Executive power is vested in a cabinet which includes the prime minister and the ministers of state. Japan is one of the most politically stable of the postwar democracies and the Liberal Democratic Party is representative of Japanese moderate conservatism. The economy of Japan is strong and growing. With few resources, there is only 19% of Japanese land suitable for cultivation. Its exports earn only about 19% of the country's gross national product. More than 59 million workers comprise Japan's labor force, 40% of whom are women. Japan and the US are strongly linked trading partners and after Canada, Japan is the largest trading partner of the US. Foreign policy since 1952 has fostered close cooperation with the West and Japan is vitally interested in good relations with its neighbors. Relations with the Soviet Union are not close although Japan is attempting to improve the situation. US policy is based on the following 3 principles: 1) the US views Japan as an equal trade partner, 2) that the relationship is global in scope, and 3) that Japan has become increasingly assertive in world matters and plays a greater international role. The combined efforts of the US and Japan will be utilized to promote world peace.

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Demography*
  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Economics*
  • Education
  • Far East
  • Geography*
  • Government*
  • Information Services
  • International Agencies*
  • International Cooperation*
  • Japan
  • Organization and Administration*
  • Organizations
  • Politics*
  • Population
  • Public Policy*
  • Social Planning*