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Japan
Overview

Background
While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan rapidly absorbed Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and a staunch ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, actual power rests in networks of powerful politicians, bureaucrats, and business executives. The economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth.
Natural resources
negligible mineral resources, fish
Land use
arable land: 12.13%
permanent crops: 1.01%
other: 86.86% (1998 est.)
Population
127,214,499 (July 2003 est.)
Ethnic groups
Japanese 99%, others 1% (Korean 511,262, Chinese 244,241, Brazilian 182,232, Filipino 89,851, other 237,914) (2000)
Religions
observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)
Languages
Japanese
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1995 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%
Capital
Tokyo
Government type
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
Independence
660 BC (traditional founding by Emperor Jimmu)
National holiday
Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)

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