Location: Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific
Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
Geographic coordinates: 36 00 N, 138 00 E
Map references: Asia
total: 377,835 sq km
land: 374,744 sq km
water: 3,091 sq km
note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto,
Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and
Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than California
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 29,751 km
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international
straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western
Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait
Climate: varies from tropical in south to cool temperate
Terrain: mostly rugged and mountainous
lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
highest point: Fujiyama 3,776 m
Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish
arable land: 11%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 2%
forests and woodland: 67%
other: 19% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 27,820 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: many dormant and some active volcanoes;
about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors) every year; tsunamis
Environment - current issues: air pollution from power plant
emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs
degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one
of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing
to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty,
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species,
Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine
Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: strategic location in northeast Asia
Japan is separated from the Asian mainland by 160km
( 100 miles ) of sea. About 70% of the country are covered by hills
and mountains. The island nation is still subjected to natural disasters
such as earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic eruptions. As a result,
Japan, geologically speaking, always seems a bit capricious, an
unstable land mass and difficult to deal with.
Lowlands and plains are small and scattered, mostly lying along
the coast, which is very long in relation to the land area, and
has very varied features. The deeply indented bays with good natural
harbors tend to be adjacent to mountainous terrain.
Though lying completely in a temperate zone, Japan
stretches nearly 2500 km from North to South. Consequently, the
climate, with four seasons, ranges from very cold winter, in Hokkaido,
to subtropical Okinawa region. Typically, though, winters are fairly
mild, and summers are very hot, except for the North and South extremes
of the nation. Rain falls throughout the year, and is intermittent
with sunshine, but June and early July is the main rainy season.
Japan is an island country in the North Pacific Ocean. It lies
off the east coast of mainland Asia across from Russia, Korea, and
Four large islands and thousands of smaller ones make up Japan.
The four major islands--Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku--form
a curve that extends for about 1,900 kilometres.
About 126 million people are crowded on these islands, making Japan
one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
While retaining its time-honored culture, Japan rapidly absorbed
Western technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
After its devastating defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to
become the second most powerful economy in the world 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
in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth.
Size: Total 377,835 square kilometers; land area
374,744 square kilometers.
Topography: Mountainous islands with numerous
dormant and active volcanoes. Four main islands (Hokkaido, Honshu,
Shikoku, and Kyushu) and numerous smaller islands to north and south,
all prone to earthquakes. Highest point Mount Fuji (3,776 meters).
Numerous, rapidly flowing rivers largely unnavigable but provide
water for irrigation and hydroelectric-power generation.
Climate: Generally rainy; high humidity. Diverse
climatic range: warm summers and long cold winters in north; hot
humid summers and short winters in center; and long, hot, humid
summers, and mild winters in southwest.
Data as of January 1994