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Administrative divisions (GPS Maps)

Geography

People and Society

Government

Economy

Communications

Transportation

Military


In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains a major economic power. In March 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killing thousands and damaging several nuclear power plants. The catastrophe hobbled the country's economy and its energy infrastructure, and tested its ability to deal with humanitarian disasters.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form None
Conventional short form Japan
Local long form Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku
Local short form Nihon/Nippon

Government type
A parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy

Capital
Name Tokyo
Geographic coordinates 35 41 N, 139 45 E
Time difference
UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gunma, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Oita, Okayama, Okinawa, Osaka, Saga, Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tokyo, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi

Independence
3 May 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution); notable earlier dates: 660 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)

Constitution
3 May 1947

Legal system
Civil law system based on German model; system also reflects Anglo-American influence and Japanese traditions; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International law organization participation
Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
20 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)
Head of government
Prime Minister Yoshihiko NODA (since 30 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya OKADA (since 13 January 2012)
Cabinet
Cabinet is appointed by the prime minister
Elections
Diet designates the prime minister; constitution requires that the prime minister commands parliamentary majority; following legislative elections, the leader of majority party or leader of majority coalition in House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister; the monarchy is hereditary

Legislative branch
Bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House of Councillors or Sangi-in (242 seats - members elected for fixed six-year terms; half reelected every three years; 146 members in multi-seat constituencies and 96 by proportional representation) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (480 seats - members elected for maximum four-year terms; 300 in single-seat constituencies; 180 members by proportional representation in 11 regional blocs); the prime minister has the right to dissolve the House of Representatives at any time with the concurrence of the cabinet
Elections
House of Councillors - last held on 11 July 2010 (next to be held in July 2013); House of Representatives - last held on 30 August 2009 (next to be held by August 2013)
Election results
House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - DPJ 31.6%, LDP 24.1%, YP 13.6%, NK 13.1%, JCP 6.1%, SDP 3.8%, others 7.7%; seats by party - DPJ 106, LDP 84, NK 19, YP 11, JCP 6, SDP 4, others 12
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party (by proportional representation) - DPJ 42.4%, LDP 26.7%, NK 11.5%, JCP 7.0%, SDP 4.3%, others 8.1%; seats by party - DPJ 308, LDP 119, NK 21, JCP 9, SDP 7, others 16 (2009)

Judicial branch
Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the monarch after designation by the cabinet; all other justices are appointed by the cabinet)

Political parties and leaders
Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ [Yoshihiko NODA]; Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Sadakazu TANIGAKI]; New Komeito or NK [Natsuo YAMAGUCHI]; People's New Party or PNP [Mikio SHIMOJI]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA]; Your Party or YP [Yoshimi WATANABE]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Other Business groups; trade unions

International organization participation
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CICA (observer), CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIT, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Ichiro FUSISAKI
Chancery
2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 238-6700
FAX [1] (202) 328-2187
Consulate(s) general
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Agana (Guam), Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Seattle
Consulate(s) Anchorage, Nashville

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador John V. ROOS
Embassy
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
Mailing address
Unit 9800, Box 300, APO AP 96303-0300
Telephone [81] (03) 3224-5000
FAX [81] (03) 3505-1862
Consulate(s) general
Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo
Consulate(s) Fukuoka, Nagoya

Flag description
White with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center

National symbol(s)
Red sun disc; chrysanthemum

National anthem
Name
"Kimigayo" (The Emperor"s Reign)
Lyrics/music Unknown/Hiromori HAYASHI
Note
Adopted 1999; in use as unofficial national anthem since 1883; oldest anthem lyrics in the world, dating to the 10th century or earlier; there is some opposition to the anthem because of its association with militarism and worship of the emperor


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  Japan (Tokyo):


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