(Nihon or Nippon, officially Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku)
is an island country in East Asia. Located in
the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China,
Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk
in the north to the East China Sea in the south.
The characters that make up Japan's name mean
"sun-origin", which is why Japan is
sometimes identified as the "Land of the
comprises over three thousand islands, the largest
of which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku,
together accounting for 97% of land area. Most
of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic;
for example, 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, which includes the capital
city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures,
is the largest metropolitan area in the world,
with over 30 million residents.
research indicates that people were living on
the islands of Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic
period. The first written mention of Japan begins
with brief appearances in Chinese history texts
from the first century AD.
from the outside world followed by long periods
of isolation has characterized Japan's history.
Since adopting its constitution in 1947, Japan
has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy
with an emperor and an elected parliament, the
major economic power, Japan has the world's second
largest economy by nominal GDP. It is a member
of the United Nations, G8, G4 and APEC, with the
world's fifth largest defense budget. It is also
the world's fourth largest exporter and sixth
largest importer and a world leader in technology
and machinery. (Credit: