, with Tokyo as capital, is a country of 6852 islands located east of Korea and Russia with a total length of 3000
km. If Japan would win the Kuril Islands dispute
with Russia it could add another dozen islands and hundreds of kms to that
The archipelago sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire. With 110 active volcanoes, earthquakes are frequent events
and sometimes turn devastatingly deadly.
The magnitude 9.1 quake of 2011 triggered a huge tsunami, killing 20.000 and knocking
out the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant into a nuclear meltdown.
As only 25% of Japan is habitable, people tend to huddle
together in urban areas with high population densities. Greater Tokyo Area alone is home to 40 million souls!
humans appeared 30.000 year ago and developed the Jomon culture. Later settlers from the continent introduced agriculture and
brought the Yayoi culture.
Since 660 BC Japan is ruled by emperors, but from 1185 till 1868 the empire was run byShoguns
, military commanders with their dreaded Samurai warriors.
In the 20th century Imperial Japan became an
expansionist state and colonized large parts of Asia. With the attack on Pearl Harbor it started a war with the
USA which ended with surrender in 1945 after atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Japan is a parliamentary constitutional
monarchy with the emperor only as the ceremonial head of state.
Today the country is an prosperous economic powerhouse
with the world`s 4th largest GDP, but with an aging population and a very low birthrate.