Country Profile: Japan
Capital and largest cityTokyo
Other citiesYokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Saitama
Recognised languagesAynu itak, Eastern Japanese, Western Japanese, Ryukyuan, and several other Japanese dialects
Area377, 873 sq km
Population237, 433, 424 (2007 est.)
Japanese is the predominantly spoken language in Japan, used by around 99% of the population. The Rkyukyan languages, including Kunigami, Okinawan and Amami, are spoken by some in Okinawa, but few children now learn these languages and dialects. Most schools now teach Japanese and English to children.
Japan's economy is one of the largest, measured by GDP, and has huge purchasing power. It is member of such organisations as G8, UN, OECD and APEC. It is also a significant global exporter and importer, and as a developed country has very high standards of life and the estimated longest life expectancy worldwide. The service sector is vital to Japanese industry, employing almost three quarters of the workforce. Japan has major industries in telecommunication, banking, real estate, transportation, as well as ships, chemicals, textiles and processed foods. Companies basd in Japan include Toyota, Honda, Canon, Sony and Nintendo. Agriculture also makes up a key part of Japan's economy, with a high percentage of Japanese land cultivated. Japan is a leading exporter of fish and seafood.
Energy, Environment and Climate Change
After the Second World War, rapid economic growth led to damaging effects on Japanese environment, and also to the dwindling of Japan's natural resources in oil and gas. Today, Japan is a world-leader in environmental and sustainable solutions to energy security and climate change, and current issues include urban air pollution, waste management, water eutrophication, nature conservation, chemical management, international cooperation for environmental conservation, as well as climate change. Japanese made Honda and Toyoda electric hybrid cars have the highest fuel economy and lowest emissions. Under the Kyoto treaty, Japan is dedicated to reducing carbon emissions in the future, and the government implemented such initiatives as the Cool Biz campaign, which promoted energy saving by the reduction of air conditioning use in offices. Japan is ready to push industries to make severe cuts in greenhouse gases in order to stay in line with Kyoto protocol and targetetd CO2 reductions.
Science and Technoloy
Japan is a global expert in scientific research, especially in the areas of machinery, technology and biomedicine. The country has a substantial R&D budget, and significant contributions have been made in earthquake engineering, automobiles and chemicals. JAXA is Japan's space agency, which conducts planetary research and the development of rockets and satellites.
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