The official name is Japan. Located on the eastern edge of the Asian continent. The area is 377,668 km2, the population is 127 million people. (2002). The official language is Japanese. The capital is Tokyo (8.1 million people, 2002). In Ya 13 public holidays; the most important of them are Constitution Day on May 3 (since 1947), Emperor’s Birthday on December 23 (since 1989), State Foundation Day on February 11 (since 1966). The monetary unit is the yen.
Member of the UN (since 1956), OECD (since 1964), IMF (since 1952), GATT / WTO (since 1955), APEC (since 1989), G7, etc.
Geography of Japan
Located on the eastern edge of Asia. The northernmost point – Cape Soya – is located at 45 ° 33′ north latitude (Hokkaido Island), the southernmost point – the Minamino Islands (Volkano group) – at 24 ° 14′ north latitude. The westernmost point of the country – Yonakuni Island – is located at 122 ° 56′ east longitude, the easternmost point – Marcus Island – at 154 ° 01′ east longitude.
From the north, Japan is washed by the Sea of Okhotsk (area – 1590 thousand km2), its eastern and southeastern coasts – by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the western coast – by the Sea of Japan (area 1008 thousand km2, maximum depth 3712 m, average – 1350 m) and East China (area 1240 thousand km2, maximum depth 2719 m) seas. Surrounded by the islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu is the Inland Sea of Japan, which includes the small seas of Harima, Bingo, Hiuchi, Iyo and Suo and is dotted with more than 1000 islets (average depth 44 m.).
The largest sea current off the coast of Japan is the Kuroshio. This warm current originates in the Philippines and heads north to the East China Sea. After passing the Ryukyu Islands, it splits into two branches. The main one keeps a course along the Pacific coast of Japan, turns east off the northeast coast of the island of Honshu and merges with the cold current of Oyashio, following in a southerly direction. The small branch (Tsushima Current) washes the western coast of Kyushu and flows into the Sea of Japan through the Tsushima Strait.
The length of the coastline is 29.8 thousand km. The ruggedness of the coast has no equal in the world. There are a huge number of bays and bays of various sizes. The most significant of them: on the island of Honshu – Tokyo Bay between the peninsulas Miura and Boso (on its coast, reclaimed from the sea, there are numerous industrial enterprises and ports), Sagami between the peninsulas Miura and Izu (a zone of residential areas and resorts), Suruga between the cape Omaezaki and Cape Irozaki (intensive fishing area), Ise between the Atsumi and Shima peninsulas (on its coast there are industrial and fishing ports, as well as Ise-Shima National Park and Mikawa Park of local importance), Osaka, bounded by the Osaka Plain, the Izumi mountains and the island Awajishima (here are the ports of Osaka and Kobe, which form the center of the Hanshin industrial region); on the island of Hokkaido – Uchiura on the east coast of the Oshima Peninsula (a cuttlefish and scallop fishing area); on the island of Shikoku – Tosa between Cape Murotozaki and Cape Ashizurimisaki (on its coast there are large fishing ports of Muroto, Kochi, Susaki and Shimizu); on the island of Kyushu – Shimabara near the peninsula of the same name, where the boundaries of the prefectures of Nagasaki, Saga, Fukuoka and Kumamoto (oyster and seaweed fishing area) converge, Yatsushiro between the Amakusa Islands and the southwestern coast of Kumamoto Prefecture (seaweed production and fishing area), Kagoshima between the Satsuma and Osumi peninsulas (an important area for navigation and storage of oil reserves), Shibushi between Capes Tomisaki and Hizaki (an area of large fish reserves).
The total number of islands on which Japan is located is approaching 4 thousand. The main islands of the Japanese archipelago are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. It also includes the Ryukyu, Bonin and Volkano islands.
Maritime borders separate Japan from China, the Republic of Korea, North Korea and Russia.
3/4 of the country’s area is covered with mountains. High and steep mountain ranges with heights of 1500-3000 m stretch along the Pacific coast of southwestern Japan, V-shaped valleys cut into them. The mountainous regions of Akaishi, Kii, Shikoku and Kyushu are typical representatives of this type of relief. On the other hand, the southwestern part of Japan, adjacent to the Sea of Japan, is characterized by the presence of groups of plateaus and mountainous regions with relatively low (from 500 to 1500 m) heights. These are the mountainous regions of Hida, Tamba, Chugoku, Tsukushi, and the Kibi plateau. Japan’s highest peak is Mount Fuji (3776 m). Over 3 thousand meters, the mountains Shirane (3192 m), Hodaka (3190 m), Aino (3189 m), Yariga (3180 m) rise. Japan is an area of active volcanic activity. Of the 150 volcanoes in the country, 15 are active.
Population of Japan
Over the past 10-20 years, the population of Japan has changed very slightly: in 1980 117.1 million people, in 1990 123.6 (an increase of 5.6%), in 2002 127.0 million people. (increase by 1.0%). The main reason for such sluggish dynamics is the fall in the birth rate (1975 – 17.1%, 1985 – 11.9% and 2002 – 9.4%). At the same time, infant mortality from 10.0 pers. per 1000 newborns in 1975 decreased to 5.5 in 1985 and 3.4 in 2002. The average life expectancy of the population is the highest in the world: 77.1 years for men and 83.99 years for women (2002).
According to Countryaah, the ratio of men and women is close to one: in 2002 the number of men was 61.9 million people, and women – 64.9 million people. The share of the urban population is approaching 80%. The retirement age is 65 years. As of 2002, among those over 15 years of age, 91.7% graduated from various educational institutions, while 24.3% of the total number graduated from primary and secondary schools of the first stage, 45.7% had secondary secondary schools behind them, 11.9 % – professional schools and colleges, 14.6% – universities and graduate schools.
The population of Japan is distinguished by exceptional national homogeneity. Less than 1% of its composition falls on non-Japanese. The largest group of national minorities is formed by the Koreans (approximately 700,000 people). The official state language is Japanese, and ethnic minorities also speak it.
Religious life in Japan is rich and varied. It is distinguished by the centuries-old interaction of various religious traditions. The main currents in the spiritual sphere are Shintoism (a local religion, the process of formation of which goes back to ancient times, although the term “Shinto” was first mentioned in the historical chronicle “Nihon shoki” (720)), Indian Buddhism, officially “imported” in Japan by the Korean royal delegation in 552, and Christianity, which appeared in the country in the middle. 16th century From the beginning 19th century in Japan, on the basis of folk beliefs and rituals, so-called. new religions. Along with this, superstitions and prejudices are widespread.
There are 231,019 registered religious organizations and institutions in Japan, including temples, churches, and sects. The predominant part of them (90,784) are Shinto, somewhat less (88,794) are Buddhist, Christian (mainly Catholic) is almost 10 times less (9275). The number of priests in Shinto organizations reaches 80 thousand people, in Buddhist organizations – 311 thousand people, in Christian ones – 28 thousand people. (including 3.4 thousand clergy and missionaries – foreigners). According to official statistics, the number of adherents of Shinto is 106.2 million people, Buddhism – 95.8 million, Christianity – 1.8 million people. The excess of the number of believers in Japan by almost twice the total population is explained by the adherence of many to several religions or beliefs at once. Their peaceful coexistence is a unique feature of the country at the present stage of its development. Traditional Japanese religions are characterized by the following features: tolerance, the preaching of the closest relationship between man and the gods, the sacredness of nature, the cult of the family and ancestors, purification as the main principle of religious life, holidays as an important part of religious rites, the interweaving of religious rituals with everyday life. Until the end of the 2nd World War, the main religions (Shintoism and Buddhism) were in close relations with the state.