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Listed below are some basic facts and statistics of Japan.  This information was primarily gathered from ShinNova.com's, "Beginner's Guide to Japan."  This site was based on Times Square Travel's, "A Guide to Japan."  For more facts and information on these topics and many others, visit http://www.shinnova.com/part/99-japa. Also, for more information and statistics, visit http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ja.html 


Four main islands make up the country of Japan.

  • Hokkaido

  • Kyushu

  • Honshu

  • Shikoku

Map of Japan

The islands are approximately 3000 kilometers (km) in length.

The total land area of Japan covers approximately 378,000 square km.

  • 84% of Japan's land is covered with mountains and forests.

  • 16% has habitable and fertile ground.

Japan is one of the countries that borders the Pacific Ring of Fire, or the circular formation of the many volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean due to tectonic activity.  Japan has approximately 1500 seismic occurrences per year.


Three different branches create the Japanese democracy.

  • Legislative- this branch includes the National Diet, a type of governing body.

  • Executive- this branch is represented by the Cabinet and the President.

  • Judicial- this branch encompasses the court system.

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures.


Japan has been a world industrial power since World War II.  

Japan has few natural resources because they do not have much fertile land.  Their agricultural economy is only 3%.  

The Japanese people have a strong work ethic and cooperate well with the government and industry because they are a collectivistic culture who work towards the betterment of the entire community.

Imports:  Japan imports fuels, minerals, manufactured goods, food, and some machinery.

Exports: Japan exports machinery, motor vehicles and other transportation equipment, and electronic equipment.

Japan represents 15% of the entire world economy.

The Japanese currency is the Yen.


Most Japanese children attend nursery school.

Japan starts compulsory education with 6 years of elementary school, and 3 years of junior high school.  95% of these junior high students go on to senior high school.  30% of senior high students go on to achieve higher education at some type of college.

Education is highly valued in Japanese society because it helps determine status and social position.


There are two main religions in Japan.

  • Shinto

  • Buddhism

Japanese mainly participate in both religions.

They celebrate religion mostly through many festivals and celebrations that have religious origin, but are not observed as religious holidays.

More on Religion


  • Population:  126.2 million

  • Life Expectancy:  Men - 77, Women - 83

  • Infant Mortality:  4 deaths for every 1000 births

  • Marriage:  7 per 1000 people

  • Divorce:  3 per 1000 people

  • Voting Age:  20

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP):  $6.7 trillion 

  • Unemployment:  4.6% (4 per 2000 people)

  • Inflation:  -0.3% 

  • Daily Newspapers:  158

  • Passenger Cars:  35 million

*Information and statistics were taken from 1999.


Bibliography & Other Resources

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E-mail questions or comments to mkfinney@depauw.edu
  January 26, 2001