Japan

Japan (日本 Nihon) is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters which make up Japan’s name mean “sun-origin”, which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the “Land of the Rising Sun”.

Japan is an archipelago (a large group or chain of islands or any large body of water with many islands) of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, together accounting for 97% of Japan’s land area. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; like Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world’s tenth-largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

A major economic power, Japan has the world’s second-largest economy by nominal gross demestic product (GDP) and the third largest in purchasing power parity. It is also the world’s fourth largest exporter and sixth largest importer. It is also the only Asian country in the G8 and is currently serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern and extensive military force which is employed in self-defense and peacekeeping roles. It is a developed country with very high living standards (10th highest HDI or Human Developement Index). Japan has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world and the third lowest infant mortality rate.

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