Nihon koku/Nippon koku
Flagge Japans
Kaiserliches Siegel
(detail) (detail 1)
office language Japanese
capital Tokyo (internationally also Tokyo) (東京 Tōkyō)
system of government parliamentary monarchy
emperor (Tennō) Akihito (明仁)
Prime Minister Junichirō Koizumi (小泉純一郎)
Surface ² 377,835 km ²
number of inhabitants 127.417.244 (July 2005)
population density of 337 inhabitants per km ²
- total
- BIP/Einw.
2005 (estimated)
$4,799 billion (2.)
$37,566 (15.)
Currency Yen ( EN)
time belt UTC +9 (JST)
National anthem Kimi Ga Yo (君が代)
Kfz characteristic J
internet TLD .jp
preselection +81
(1) Japan possesses officially no national coat of arms, however usually the imperial seal (

2) without the disputed Kurilen Japan

Lage Japans
Karte Japans

uses (jap. 日本 Nihon/Nippon; Tondokument ? / License) is to Indonesia, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea the fourth largest island state of the world. It lies in the Pacific before the coasts of Russia, Korea and China.

The national name sits down from the indications (discussion never, inthe meaning „day “or „sun “) and (discussion hone, in the meaning „origin “or „root “) together. Japan is therefore also well-known as „country of the coming up sun “. Both the earlier mythologische name Cipangu and Japan probably lead themselves ofthe Chinese discussion of the characters (chin. 日本國 rìbĕnguó) off.

With Japan its own range of the culture science and regional studies, the Japanologie is concerned.

Table of contents


Topographie Japans
topography of Japan

major item: Geography of Japan

Japan is an island chain, which extends along the east coast of Asia. The Hauptinseln are Hokkaidō in the north, the central and largest island Honshū, as well as Shikoku and Kyūshū in the south. In addition come approx. 4.000 smaller islands, itself particularly inthe Seto Inlandsee and as Ryūkyū islands concentrate.

Over the entire archipelago runs a mountain chain, which constitutes approximately 73% of the land mass of Japan. The highest mountain of Japan is the Fujisan on the Hauptinsel Honshū with 3.776 m over the sea level. Only inlarger levels are to the main densely populated areas Kantō (with Tōkyō and Yokohama) and Kansai ( Ōsaka, Kyōto and Kōbe). Due to the lack of flat country mountain-slopes are cultivated by Terassenfeldbau.

Regional organization

major item: Regions of Japan

Japan is ineight regions divided:Hokkaidō, Tōhoku, Kantō, Chūbu, Kinki, Chūgoku, Shikoku and Kyūshū. This organization is historically justified and plays nowadays above all culturally and economically a role. Japan is political in prefectures arranged (see politics).


due to the north south expansion of the country is pronounced the climate in Japan very differently, the island chain extends of the cold-moderate climate zone in Hokkaidō, with cold and snow-rich winters, into the subtropics in Okinawa. In addition the influence of hoists comes - in the winter from the asiatic continent to the sea, and in the summer from the sea to the continent. In late June and early July a majority of the yearly precipitation falls as monsoon-like in the south Rain front (jap. 梅雨前線 baiu zensen). In addition Taifun is - season with on the average over twenty eddy towers annual in the summer and in the autumn.

Japan can be divided because of its broadly varied geographical conditions in six main climatic regions:

  • Hokkaidō: not particularly strong precipitation,but during the long cold winters larger snow banks
  • Japanese sea /Ostmeer: The northwest wind in the winter brings strong snow. In the summer this region is cool as the Pacific region, however there is foehn here more frequently.
  • Central high country (Chūō kōchi):strong temperature differences between summers and winters as well as day and night, small precipitation
  • Seto Inlandsee: The mountains of the region Chūgoku and Shikoku stop the wind and lead to an all year round mild climate.
  • Pacific region: cold winters with small snow andbe called dry summers
  • Nansei shoto (Ryūkyū islands): Subtropical climate with warm winters and are called summers. Strong precipitation particularly during the rain time, regularly arising Taifune.

natural phenomena

Echtfarben-Satellitenaufnahme der NASA
genuine color satellite admission of NASA

Japan is because of the geological Bruchzone of three tectonic plates ( the Eurasi plate in the west and the north, the Philippine plate in the south and the Pacific plate in the east). Of its about 240 volcanos, thoseto the Pacific Feuerring , is active 40 belongs. In the entire region there are almost daily easier earthquakes, in larger distances also heavy (z. B. Large Kanto earthquake 1923, earthquake of Kōbe 1995). Each year finds to the anniversary of theKanto earthquake in September an exercise to the disaster control instead of.

In the early summer those begins Taifun - season, at which above all the south and southwest of Japan are afflicted by eddy towers developing over the Pacific ocean (z. B. by Taifun Tokage in October 2004).

In the last thousand years died in Japan over 160.000 humans by Tsunamis (by submarine earthquakes released tsunami). The country has nowadays by measuring buoys in the Pacific an effective Tsunami early warning system. For the population regularly training programs findinstead of, many Japanese coastal towns protect themselves by establishing enormous dykes. These barriers from reinforced concrete are partly 10 meters highly, up to 25 meters deep and with sturdy metal gates equipped.

The ten largest cities

Tōkyō (Tokyo) (of 8.340.000 inhabitants) - Yokohama (3.375.500) - Ōsaka (2.639.700) - Nagoya (2.213.700) - Sapporo (1.874.900) - Kōbe (1.523.900) - Kyōto (1.469.500) - Fukuoka (1.400.100) - Kawasaki (1.315.900) - Hiroshima (1.155.600)

see also: Cities in Japan


the well developed clearing races of Japan have oneOverall length of 23.577 km. That corresponds to place 14 (conditions 2004) of the world rank list (to the comparison: Germany is at 46.142 km on place 9; Conditions 2004; Source:CIA World Factbook).

The east west connection of the Shinkansen is the life vein of the country. To that 1964 the first distance was opened to olympic plays Tōkyō from Tōkyō to Osaka. Thus Japan is the motherland of the modern high-speed course. By lines of the seven successor companies of the denationalized state railway NJR, by private railway companies, cross-country penalty and ferries is almost any oneVillage and each small island in Japan attached to the net. In the cities there are exzellente Nahverkehrsverbindungen, undergrounds as in Tōkyō, Osaka, Kyōto and many different, streetcars as natural in Hiroshima or Matsuyama and penalty. Also unusualSolutions are in Japan, like the a rail course Kitakyūshū. Course as well as suburban traffic transport fees vary strongly after region and operator company, are however because of missing national subsidization generally high.

A car possesses the Landbevölkerung and those in Japan primarilyMiddle class. Since the cities are very closely cultivated, a parking lot proof is necessary for the permission of a motor vehicle. There is approximately 45 million car in the country certified. In residential areas are not the roads much narrow and have sidewalks. It gives in the streetscapealso hardly LKWs, because only narrow Kleinlaster come through in close Gäs everywhere, in order to supply small shops or the beverage dispensers existing at each corner. The Japanese duty-requiring motorway net approximately 7,000 kilometers, further 2,000 are covered in planning.The net is in national hand, which became operator companies however in the year 2005 into private societies in public possession is converted and is possibly sold. On the motorways prevail speed limit of 80 and 100 km/h. In Japan left-hand traffic prevails.

Kansai air haven

the well removed road and traction network is the more amazing, if one considers that in the hilly inland and between the islands many tunnels and bridges are necessary, and that the infrastructure constantly by earthquakes, Taifune and volcanic eruptions is endangered. River - and voice grade channels are still completely predominantly aboveground led in Japan, with newer town construction projects underground. Due to the fire risk with earthquakes the gas lines shifted underground in all cities require special attention and are often waited. Gas cookers andGas storage water heaters for warm-water supply are in Japan the standard. To the Japanese infrastructure a close net at disaster warning systems and liferafts belongs.

Also with ports and airports Japan is well equipped, since Japan has very much coast, many places themselves on the Hauptinsel Honshu with course and car badly to reach are and all international traffic and exchange of goods due to its island situation by ship or airplane are completed. The largest airports are Tokyo Haneda, Tokyo Narita, Kansai internationally air haven and thatto the EXPO Aichi 2005 opened again to cent ral Japan internationally air haven. Since even country is always scarce in Japan, the last two of the three on artificial islands in the sea were established. With Kitakyūshū and with Kōbe further airport islands are inBuilding.

The telephone network is likewise well developed, meanwhile is fast Internet entrances standard and the entire population from the school child to the Greis almost possesses a mobile phone. Japanese become enthusiastic fast for new technical Spielereien, and one can assume that,that also in the future many new inventions in this area first on the Japanese market will have to be found.

Flora and fauna

of mountain forests cover 75% of the national surface
Die Koi werden in Japan als Zierfische gezüchtet
the Koi in Japan as Zierfi bred
the Japanese Rotkiefer are thatusually-used tree of Japan

the Japanese archipelago extends in a long elbow of the north (45. Degree of latitude, Hokkaidō) to the south (20. Degree of latitude, Okinotorishima). Inland a row mountain chains, which exceed the timber line, are in addition belonged to Japan onelarger zone in the east Pacific. Compared to the tightness of the habitat, a multiplicity of kinds is in Japan. By the position as pre-aged Inselgruppe one has itself with „continental Asia “used, but independent Flora and fauna develops. Are particularly mentionedhere the Ogasawara islands (also: Bonin islands), 1000 km southeast from Tōkyō, which are often compared because of their endemic species with the Galapagos islands.

Japan is because of the intersection of three Ökoregionen. The Hauptinseln and the nearby neighbour islands are part that Paläarkti ok ozones. The Ryūkyū islands are part of the Indomalai region, while the Ogasawara islands are counted to Ozeanien.

Der Shiba-ken, eine beliebte Hunderasse
The ski beacons, a popular dog race

of mammals: At large mammals there is among other things the brown bear on Hokkaidō, on Honshu the asiatic black bear, Sikahir, and the Japanese Serau (a Ziegenantilope). Under the native kinds also the Japanmakak is, to that on the Shimokita peninsula (Präf. Aomori) is domestic and thus the northernmost ape population of the world forms. The strong urbanizationat the coasts and on the Japanese levels led to it that some kinds of mammal became extinct , so the Japanese wolf ( Canis lupus hodophylax) has, the Japanese Seelöwe (Zalophus californianus japonicus), the Seeotter and the Fischotter. Dogs and cats are therein Japan in a broad selection of races. As the Japanese dog race the Shiba Inu is regarded.

Birds:In Japan over 500 different kinds of bird were sighted. Since the Inselgruppe is surrounded by sea in each direction, is a multiplicityof it water birds. From north to south Japan is an important stopover for migratory birds. In Siberia breeding birds find here their winter accomodation, while the birds breeding in Japan pull in the winter toward Southeast Asia. In this kind one findsMultiplicity from kinds of bird their way to Japan. In the cities are crows (particularly the carrion crow), Spatzen, pigeons and barn swallows. National bird is the multicolored pheasant. The Nipponibis became extinct. However some copies of the Nipponibis of the Chinese becameMainland imported.

Fish: The Japanese territorial waters are from cold and warm Meeresströmungen pulled through, at whose tangent lines good growth conditions offer for Plankton. The country is because of a load edge of the continental plates, by whose shifts a fissured coastal line formed. Thusa good habitat is offered for a multiplicity of fish types, and the coast of Sanrikuoki (三陸沖, in the prefecture Iwate) to high to the Kurilen is one of the three richest Fischgründe in the world. Also into thatRivers there is a rich number of fish types, also favours by the heavy-rainfall climate. In the brackish water areas of the Flussmündungen there is a multiplicity of shells. The water pollution and concreting of the Flussbetten are problematic, to one Become extinct numerous kinds led. In the Siebzigern there was a strong environmental movement, which could achieve first successes against it. The variety of the Japanese fish world can be experienced also as a tourist, because dipping is in Japan a popular leisure sport andin many cities there are large aquariums.

Flora: Japan is covered to approximately 75% with with difficulty accessible mountain forests, a circumstance, which is quite often forgotten, if on the concrete seas of the modern metropolises one reports. By the volcanic origin thatIslands is specialized a multiplicity of the native kinds in evenly these environments.

Cultivated plants: Most important cultivated plant in Japan is exactly taken to Oryza from Korea the introduced rice , sativa japonica (short grain rice), historical arm people meal is however millet, there the riceas tax to be paid had. The straw is used for the production of act revision modification. Likewise to be cultivated different bean sorts, among other things the Adzukibohne, and a set of vegetables, among them ginger, radish and spinach. Different are in addition domestic Zitrusfrüchte like the Natsumikan, beyond that a set of fruit and vegetable places was introduced. In addition to the traditional kitchen belong to sea-seaweed (among other things Nori) and sea algae (Wakame). Traditional Japanese houses become among other things from the wood that Sicheltanne built. Also the dte plant and different Binsenarten are of national importance for the production of the act revision modification mats (igusa - Flatterbinse, toushingusa - Dochtbinse).


population trend (x1000)

major item: Society of Japan and Japanese

the last census from the year 2004 points a total populationJapan of approximately 127 millions Humans out.

The Japanese society is ethnical and linguistically to a large extent homogeneous. Nevertheless different subpopulations let themselves be constituted, primarily after generation, man and Mrs., education conditions and with it directly coherently acquisition situation in Japanand incomes as well as to city and country.

Current problems of the Japanese society are a decrease of the birth rate, obsolescence and youth unemployment.


  • in terms of figures largest minority of Japan are those about 650,000 koreanischstämmigen Japanese, since generations in Japanlive, but to a large extent a Japanese national are not. The acceptance of the Japanese nationality would presuppose among other things also an accepting of a Japanese surname, what would mean a loss of the Korean identity and assimilation and therefore by some Koreans one rejects.
  • The indigene minority of the Ainu on the northern island Hokkaidō places today only some ten thousand members.
  • The Buraku (also: Burakumin) are ethnical Japanese, whose ancestor exercised impure occupations after shintoistischer and buddhistischer view, therefore are this very day social themexpenditure-bordered.
  • A further minority are japanischstämmige south Americans, usually Brazilians, who immigrated again to the country of their ancestors.
  • Likewise in Japan numerous immigrant workers from Arab countries, India and Southeast Asia live.

Language and writing

major item: Japanese language and Japanese writing system

the national language is Japanese and spoken of almost the entire population, also from most minorities. Numerous regional dialects exist. At school English is taught as the first foreign language, it is however frequently criticized thatJapanese English instruction too much able to communicatenesses only insufficient on the existence of the TOEIC test concentrated and mediate themselves. Most frequent second foreign language is Chinese, German is on the third place.

The Japanese language uses beside the Chinese characters (jap. Kanji)also two own syllable writing systems, (hiragana and katakana), which are derived from Chinese characters. Roads, stations and the like are usually in kanji and in Latin transcription (Rōmaji) beschildert.

Science and education

major item: Education in Japan
see also: List of the Japanese universities, universities and professional schools

education has a very high value in Japan , affected by the Konfuzianismus. Abgängern of the outstanding universities are open in Japan all doors. It is however with difficulty, such a study place too ergattern, thoseHardness of the Japanese university receiving inspections is notorious.


pupils of a Japanese middle school

major item: School in Japan

  • the school education begins already in the kindergarten, which is however not part of the compulsory schooling. There in Japan generally much value on common learning andLive together one puts, takes place in the kindergarten and in the primary school much group work.
  • The educational system is divided in primary school (six years), middle school (three years) and high school (three years).
  • The compulsory schooling amounts to nine years.
  • The school year in Japan always begins to1. April.
  • The vacations are generally speaking country uniformly: Two weeks at New Year, two weeks in March/April, six weeks in July/August.
  • Public schools have a five-day week, private schools often one six-day week.
  • During the compulsory schooling there is none „seat remaining “, each pupilone shifts automatically.
  • School uniforms are at many schools obligation. Each of these schools has their own characteristic uniform.

Library nature

major item: Japanese library nature


after the Second World War concentrated the research completely on the development of new products for the industry. Herea very close co-operation between the development departments of the large companies and the universities took place. Only by reforms to the 1980er years also strengthens basic research promoted. Momentary large topic is the development of robots, like the Expo 2005impressing showed. The main topic of the social sciences of the 1980er years was Nihonjinron, the Japanese attempt of the identity identification after the rapid transformations of the last one and a half centuries.



Major item: History of Japan; Periodisierung of Japanese history

Jōmon period
in the time of 10.000 v. Chr. to approximately 300 v. Chr. humans (supposed) from central Asia, Siberia and the southPacific area immigrated to the area today's Japan.
Yayoi period
firstthere were confirmed contacts with the Chinese realm from approximately 300 v. Chr. to approximately 300 n. Chr.
Kofun period
large key grave plants originate from the Kofun period from approximately 300 to 710 n. Chr. There was a close political contact with thatNeighboring country Korea and immigration from Korea to Japan. Starting from that 5. Century took place the assumption of the Chinese writing .
Nara epoch (710 - 784)
in the Nara period was strongly promoted the Buddhismus. The system of government leaned to that Chinese model on.
Heian epoch (794 - 1185)
upswing of the höfischen culture in Heian kyō (Kyoto), above all Dichtkunst and literature. The power of the emperor was weakened gradually and Kriegerfamilien was established. For the end of the Heian period justifiedthe Minamoto - family the first Shōgunat.
Kamakura epoch (1192 - 1333)
during the Kamakura period undertook Kublai Khan of two invasion attempts in Japan, which were prevented however by later than göttlich interpreted Taifune (Kamikaze , God wind).
Muromachi epoch (1338 - 1573)
the powerful independent Daimyō maintained its own armies. The Shogunat lost control, and which began „time the arguing realms “(sengoku jidai).
Sengoku epoch (1477 - 1603)
three the realm some(Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu) terminated over 100-jährigen the civil war in the Azuchi Momoyama epoch (1568 to 1603 ).
Edo era (1603 - 1867)
in the Edo period partitioned itself Japan of the remainder of the world.The Tokugawa - family kept control of the other Daimyō for over 250 years. 1854 segelte US admiral Matthew Perry with its fleet of four warships undisturbed into the port of Tōkyō, around a letter of the US president To hand over Millard Fillmore, in which this requests the Tokugawa government to the open trade with the USA. The ease, with which Perry could run into the port, revealed the weakness of the Tokugawa regime. This led to a rebellion of regional rulers and flowedin the long run into a re-instatement of the emperor, who received however little material political power.
Japanese nut/mother with twins, 1917
Meiji era (1868 - 1912)
the reform of the emperor house under the Meiji - Tennō starting from 1868 (Meiji restoration and modern trend) the time of the Kriegeradels terminated and rang the modern trend. The country received a modern condition and a parliament, so that Japan became a constitutional monarchy. Korea is occupied 1910 by Japan, whereby this very day loads the relationsbecome.
Taishō era (1912 - 1926)
in the First World War (1914 to 1918) stood for Japan on sides of the Entente. The Taishō era was characterized by cultural dynamics and economic upswing. It was also a time of the democratic experimentswith a parliamentary system. Finally the democracy failed by instability (similar as in Germany during the Weimar Republic). The military took over effective control and rang the Shōwa era.
Shōwa era part of 1 (1926 - 1945)
1931 occupiedJapan the northeast of China and created 1932 the dependent State of Mandschuko (Manchuria). 1937 attacked Japan China and began with it the Second World War in Asia. Japan sells European colonial powers from the Southeast Asiatic countries, around its own colonial empire to construct. In December 1941 Japanese troops attacked the US base Pearl Harbor in the Pacific and provoked so the USA . Thus the Second World War expanded on the Pacific ocean. Not only in China, but also in the othersJapanese occupied areas of Southeast Asia war crimes happened. 1945 approached the allied troops to the Japanese islands, but on the smaller islands still violent fights particularly raved. The emperor, as well as the prime minister and its trailers wanted to take up peace negotiations, but thatMilitaristi clan had more power, particularly over the army, which led to a continuation of the war. To 6. August 1945 threw the Americans an atom bomb over the city Hiroshima and to 9. August a further over Nagasaki off. Underthe impression of the atom bomb releases Japan capitulated to 15. August 1945 unconditionally, the emperor read out the surrender, which became to transfer over radio at 12.00 o'clock at noon. Still nowadays many humans and their descendants under the consequences of radiation sickness suffer (Hibakusha).
Shōwa era part of 2 (1945 - 1989)
after the surrender begins the reconstruction, first under general McArthur, then in self-direction. By the former war opponent the USA Japan is integrated as Vorposten against communism into the western alliance system.A rapid economic development begins, in which Japanese companies conquer step by step market shares in all important key industries. Japan proves as stable, peaceful democracy.
Heisei era (1989 - today)
putrefies to bank credit and overestimated real estates leaves beginning to that 1990er - Years the Bubble Economy burst, and Japan slips into a phase of deflation and high national indebtedness, which mean economic stagnation on high level. Enterprises and banks are carefully reorganized, and gradually it comes again to an economic upswing,however yet as boom to be designated cannot.


gate to the Nishi Honganji, Kyoto

major item: Always several

religious faith forms existed religion in Japan in Japan next to each other. The most important are the Shintō, that itself of the Japanese Urreligion, and the Buddhismus, that deduces Japan in 5. or 6. Jh. reached. The Japanese Buddhismus is arranged into many different sparkling wines (schools, directions), which belong however nearly all to the Mahayana Buddhismus. Among the most well-known buddhistischen directions in Japan rank that Zen - Buddhismus, the Amida - Buddhismus and the Nichiren - Buddhismus. In the religion of Japan there are Chinese influences beyond that by Taoismus and Konfuzianismus, which were taken up and integrated by Shintō and Buddhismus. Today most Japanese belong (over 80%)both main religions on, therefore one can call the religious basic adjustment in Japan synkretisch. The Christianity played in the history of Japan particularly in 16. and 17. Jh. a certain role, takes however today an edge position. An important elementplace against it the so-called. New religions, itself since center the 19. Jhs. spread ever more strongly and often a self-willed mixture from Shintō, Buddhismus and other world religions publicise. Since that 2. World war prevails in relation to these directions a particularly largereligious tolerance, so that at present allegedly 180,000 religious communities are nationally recognized.


emperor Akihito and empress Michiko

major item: Politics of Japan


major item: Japanese condition

the valid Japanese condition became at the 3. November 1946 announces and stepped at the 3. May 1947 inKraft. In it the Japanese people the ideals of the peace and the democratic order commits itself. The condition was prepared by the American crew government at that time under general Douglas MacArthur, was however since then not changed.

In the condition becomesin article 9 paragraph 1 war as sovereign right rejected, also the menace of military force as means for international conflict resolution is forbidden. Paragraph 2 possesses special explosiveness, there it Japan forbids a military to maintain. Japanese self-defense armed forces and in particulartheir international missions in the Iraq and Afghanistan are very disputed therefore. According to an article “Japan Time” of 29.10.2005 at present the LDP works on a draft of the condition, in which article 9 in parts is to be changed. Paragraph 1 remains unchangedexist, paragraph 2 is however to be painted. It is expressly stressed that the military is to serve further only self-defense, in addition, the safety device of international peace and security.

Further the inviolability of the human rights is stressed. The draft of the revised version containsstill some further, so far not specified individual rights among other things respectful handling handicapped ones and victims of criminal offences as well as protection of personal data.

The Tennō has purely representative function after the condition. Highest sovereign after the condition is represented the people,by the parliament. The parliament selects the prime minister, this appoints its cabinet.


major item: Tennō, Japanese emperor house

“symbol of the state and the unit of the Japanese people” is Akihito, the 125. Tennō (dt.: Emperor, literally“of the sky (envoy) ruler”). Legally it is not considered as head of state and the sovereigns power lies alone with the people. Its father Hirohito, the Shōwa Tennō, rejected 1945 with the surrender of Japan the Göttlichkeit of the Japanese emperors. The condition of 1946no direct political power of decision gives the emperor; in modern Japan is its office of ceremonyal nature. He appoints the Prime Minister selected by both parliaments and the president of the highest Court of Justice, he announces the laws and calls up the parliament. In addition is it highest priest of the Shintō.

Akihitos government foreign exchange (time calculation) reads heisei. The government foreign exchange is used also as yearly indication in official Japanese texts, beginning with the year of the accession. Heisei 1 is the year 1989.

Political arrangement

see: Prefectures of Japan

Japan is a centralistic state, which passes only clearly outlined tasks on to the 47 prefectures for execution. Within these tasks the prefectures are relatively autonomously, however always instruction in relation to the centre government and also on thoseFinancing by the central state dependent.

The 47 prefectures were divided into large cities as well as towns and villages, the local level. Only exception is the prefecture Tokyo, those into the 23 central urban districts on the one hand as well as surrounding towns and villagesis on the other hand divided. The prefectures are very different in size and population density. Most are allotted to the Hauptinsel Honshū, while for example the second largest island Hokkaidō has only one prefecture. Within the präfekturalen and the local level givesit - contrary to the national parliamentarism - a präsidentielles system, within whose on the one hand the governments - and administrative bosses and on the other hand the municipality meetings and prefecture parliaments to be autonomously selected.


the parliament is the highest organ of the government authorityand the only legislative body of Japan. It is split in upper house and House of Commons (also Lower House or house of representatives).

In the House of Commons only 480 parliamentarians sit, in the upper house give it 242 seats since the reforms in the years 1993 to 1996.300 in in mandate is selected by the 480 seats of the Lower House - constituencies after the Mehrheitswahlrecht and 180 in 11 regional districts after the elections on the basis of proportional representation right. All men and women with completed 25 receive passive right to vote for the Lower House. Lebensjahr,for the passive right to vote in the upper house that must 30. Lebensjahr with perfection its. All Japanese men and women with completed 20 are entitled to vote. Lebensjahr.


foreign policy

major item: Foreign policy of Japan

the main points from of Japan foreign policy to that The Second World War are a firm connection at the USA, cheque book diplomacy, a renouncement of military aggression, and territorial disputes with the neighbours, fixed in the condition , Soviet Union / Russia, VR China and South Korea.

North of Japan the lying Südkurilen belong since 1945 to the Soviet Union (starting from 1990 the succession state Russia), however by Japan are stressed. This conflict is a continuous problem in the Japanese-Russian relations. The small Inselgruppe Takeshima (Korean: Dokdo) is administered by South Korea and ofJapan stresses, after they belonged during the time of the Japanese imperialism about 40 years long to Japan. In spring 2005 the introduction of a Takeshima daily in a Japanese prefecture caused anger in the Korean population again. Japan has requirements for possession besidethe People's Republic of China and Taiwan also on the Senkaku - islands (chin.: Diaoyu). In the proximity of the islands raw materials are assumed.

The relations with many asiatic states - in particular to the People's Republic of China, South Korea and North Korea - is above allbecause of a missed processing of imperialistic history in the first half 20. Century further tensely. The close economic entwinement and the interest of world in a peace in the region make martial conflicts however improbably; instead symbolic crises flame again and again up.

In accordance with the condition Japan long time kept out from all international armed conflicts and forced instead a multilateral commercial policy aligned to free trade. In January 2004 the parliament was correct however for the first time since 1945 of the delegation JapaneseSoldier into a strange country too, i.e. into the Iraq. While Prime Minister Koizumi sees therein a proof for the close friendly relations with the USA, many Japanese regard as violation of the constitution.


major item: Japanese military

in the article 9 that To Japanese condition Japan does without the right of sovereign states for war guidance. This clause is unique in the world, it after the defeat of Japan in the Second World War was taken up, in order to prevent a renewed militaryistic aggression. After the wording of the articleit is however not forbidden maintaining troops for self-defense. During the allied crew a police reserve was formed, based, divided with the sovereignty 1953 from these one year later self-defense armed forces in land, sea and air troops. Around the conditionto correspond, in the designation in principle without the character gun (, “army”) one does. 1960 were closed a military alliance with the former war opponent the USA.

In Japan no military service prevails. The defense budget amounted to in the year 2004 45.4 billion US-D. This corresponds to 1% GROS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, Japan assumes from the military expenditure rank 6 in the world.

Already since the Verabschiedung of the Japanese condition different changes are discussed, among other things also a revision articles9, which came however due to the high hurdles ( two-thirds majority in both chambers of the parliament and popular vote) never.

Self-defense armed forces accomplish the first international employment since 2004 as allied one of the USA in the Iraq, which in Japanan intensive discussion around the constitutionality of such employments caused. The structure of the de-facto-army and the international employment are seen in the left camp as break of the condition, while the right camp the article 9 as of the American crew government forced uponregards and this to tilt would like.

On the part of the People's Republic China is brought out frequently the reproach that in Japan a new militarism is understood in developing. Historically these fears are justified by the fact that China in the anti-Japanese war large wrong (estimated 18Millions civilian victims) to deplore had. Here to be mentioned however, which did not show Japan since the Second World War a military aggression and on the contrary an active advocate of the atomic disarmament was, China should however several conflicts with itsCaused neighbours (invasion in Tibet 1959, Indian-Chinese border war 1962, incident at the Ussuri 1969, Chinese Vietnamesi war 1979). Military threat scenarios in Japan see primarily a landing of Chinese troops at the coast actual. In the year 2005became clear a further conflict area, than Japan defined for the first time the protection Taiwans as part of its interests.

A second threat scenario offers North Korea, that already several times to rockets over Japanese territory fired and the world public in the year 2005 alsothe statement surprised to possess nuclear weapons. For this reason Japan works closely with the USA on the development of a common anti-missile defense sign.

The third threat scenario is a notice of terror, like the notice on the Tokyoter underground by those Ōmu Shinrikyō - sparkling wines in the year 1995 showed. By the commitment in the Iraq fears that Japan could become also a goal of Islamic groupings, exist appropriate references it already gave.


major item: Economics of Japan

Japan is a guided national economy, inthe last years increasingly one dereguliert and one denationalized .

The export in the year 2003 amounted to 363 billion euro. Thus Japan is on place 3 of the export-strongest countries behind Germany on place 1 and the USA on place 2.

A good co-operationbetween state and industry, a traditionally minted work discipline, the control of Hightech, a large attention of the state to training and an increase of the productivity by automation, have Japan helped within short time behind the USA and the European Union to become the third biggest economic power of the world. Spectacularly: over three decades Japan had to register only economic growth: an average of 10% into the 1960ern, on the average 5% into the 1970ern, and 4% economic growth into that 1980ern. Only into the 1990ern the economic growth was strongly braked by the late sequences by bad investments during the late 1980er. National attempts for the revival of the economic growth did not have a success and became later during the years 2000 and 2001 by oneSlowing down of the American and asiatic markets restrained.

The government cabinet around Junichiro Koizumi issued laws for global privatisation (partly in vain) and with issuing from laws to control of foreign investors tries to energize the still schwächelnde Japanese economy. Although alreadysome these laws were issued the economy yet did not react.

An at present large problem of Japan is unemployment. Experts of the Japanese economy indicate it as four million, while the dark number is with approximately 10 million unemployed person to be.Reason of latent unemployment are the Unkündbarkeitsstatus of many employees any longer necessary as well as the interference of the state very strong for a free free-market economy into the economy, which among other things ABM - places contains. Since 2004 is the economy however againin an easy upswing.


Kare san sui - garden in the Tofukuji, Kyoto

major item: Culture of Japan

in the modern Japanese culture many elements decrease/go back to the completely own tradition of the country, whereby Japan in the circle of the industrial nations retains its individual characterhas.

In the archaeology the first certifications of cultural early history ceramic(s) of the Jōmon - and Yayoi - are period. Starting from that 4. Century came then many elements of the Chinese culture to Japan, first agricultural engineerings like the cultivation of rice and handicraft techniques such as bronze forging artand the building of hill graves, then starting from that 7. Jh. also the writing culture and the five classical authors, the Konfuzianismus and the Buddhismus.

In the Heian time it came to a first bloom, as the yard aristocracy from the ChineseIts own Japanese Dichtkunst and literature inherits developed.

In the epochs following on it the country was devastated again and again by civil wars, whereby the sword aristocracy, which Bushi ascended, (later than Samurai designated), to the most important layer. Beside the war art and thatSword forging art formed also a new form of the Buddhismus, which Zen out, which awarded to the Kriegern.

Only in the Edo time in 17. Jh., under the Tokugawa the country came again to the peace. The Samurai became an official layer, thosetheir Kriegertugenden in the combat arts (武術 bujutsu) retained. The influence of the Zen was reflected now also in Dichtkunst, garden architecture and music again. By peace and economic upswing also the fourth layer, came the dealers, in this timeWealth. Since the social ascent was refused to them, the dealers in the art looked for a way to overtrump the Samurai. They promoted tea houses, in which the Geishas the dte ceremony, flower putting art, music and dance practiced. They promoted also that Kabuki - theatres. In the cities special entertainment districts, particularly in Edo , formed where the Daimyō had to spend the half year under direct control of the Shōgun.

A third bloom time of the culture now experiences Japan in the post-war period, in thatJapan a lively Popkultur brought out, which connects western influences and Japanese tradition. Anime and Manga, Japanese films and Popmusik are also in overseas like.


sport already is in Japan in the Asuka time (7. Jh.)proven, when a legation from Korea at the yard of the empress Kōgyoku became to maintain by a Sumōkampf. The Bushi, the erstarkende war-arose to the end the Heian time (11. Jh.), operated likewise sport as preparation on the fight, in firstLine sword fight, riding, elbow shooting and swimming. In the Edo time, a peaceful period, the Samurai become civil servants refined these techniques to the combat art (bujutsu), and by the influence of the Zen - Buddhismus also a mirror-image-ritual component received.

InFramework of the Meiji restoration (second half 19. Jh.) came also the western sport to Japan, among them athletic kinds of sport and crew kinds of sport such as baseball, today the most popular sport (see baseball in Japan) and football (see football in Japan). At the beginning of20. Century from the classical Bujutsu arts the today's combat arts and kinds of combat haven were developed, among them Jūdō, Aikidō and Kendō. Carats developed on Okinawa.

Nowadays broad variety is operated by kinds of sport in Japan, in firstLine in clubs at schools and universities. The island situation made Surfen and a dipping very popular. As sport of the Salarymen gulf , a membership in a gulf club is considered can however only really well the earning afford. Everywhere in Japantherefore are highly fenced plants on which the anticipated payment can be practiced.Hokkaidō and the prefecture Nagano are centers of winter sports.

To travel information

see major items: Tourism in Japan


Germany, Austria and Switzerland have with Japan inAgreement for visa release closed. With the entry citizens of these countries receive a residence permit for 90 days, an extension of the stay on altogether 180 days let themselves with one of the regional immigration offices be requested.

For the following purposes a visa-free entry is possible:Inspection; Recovery; Attendance with relatives, and/or. Friends; Participation in conferences; Business purposes (like e.g. Market surveys, business contacts, negotiations, contract signing, service achievements on to Japan exported machines); Participation in amateur competitions more sportily or other nature, or similar activities during a brief stay in Japan.

Forthere are longer stays to request the possibility, a Working Holiday visa.


inoculation are not necessary, if one flies directly from Germany, Austria or Switzerland to Japan.

The health service of the foreign office recommends as meaningful inoculation protection: Protection approximately Tetanus, Diphtherie, Polio and hepatitis A, with long-term stay over three months also hepatitis B. On smaller islands in the south of Japan still Japanenzephalitis is to occur. With journeys this way the appropriate inoculation is to be considered.


by transfer payingis not as far common in Japan as in Europe. It is advisable to at any time lead an appropriate quantity of cash with itself. The simplest way for European tourists to supply itself in Japan with money is the ec-mapto use at one of the numerous money automats of the Japanese post office. The operation of the automats is possible in English language, many of these automats is accessible however only to the usual opening times of the post office branches. Per day 50,000 Yen can be taken off.

Thoseoften recommended traveler's cheque is rather problematic against it since they are exchanged only by few banks. Credit cards are not as far common in Japan as in the USA or in Europe. It is possible that credit cards are accepted, then howeveronly in Japan issued maps to be read can. In such a case would be useless the map issued in Germany; the situation constantly improved however in the last years. At money automats of the post offices leave themselves usually alsoeach kind from credit card cash take off.

Only few branch banks (after Foreign Exchange bank ask) change easily foreign cash into the national currency.

Security for tourist

Japan is generally considered as a safe country, thus also to tourists. With journeys the usualSafety precautions should be met nevertheless.


  • Gerhard Dambmann: Operating instruction for Japan. Piper, 2002, ISBN 3-492-27513-3
  • Irmela Hijiya Kirschnereit, Japan. The other culture leader. Island, Frankfurt/Main 2000, ISBN 3458170111
  • Manfred Pohl: Japan. Beck (Beck' number of countries), Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-48104-3
  • Hans Jürgen Mayer, Manfred Pohl (Hrsg.):Report on the situation in the countries Japan. Scientific book company, 1998, ISBN 3534127439
  • Shunpei Ueyama, Japanese philosophers in 20. Century. iudicium, Munich 2000, ISBN 3891296258
  • Hisako Matsubara: Away to Japan. Bastei Lübbe 1986 and/or. To Knaus 1983

see also

Web on the left of

Wikiquote: Japan - quotations
Wiktionary: Japan - word origin, synonyms and translations
Commons: Japan - pictures, videos and/or audio files

coordinates: 35° 9 ′ 22 "N, 136° 3 ′ 36 " O

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