CountryFacts.com > Japan
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Japan
Capital:
Tokyo
Population:
127,333,002 (July 2004 est.)
Flag
Background:
In 1603, a Tokugawa shogunate (military dictatorship) ushered in a long period of isolation from foreign influence in order to secure its power. For 250 years this policy enabled Japan to enjoy stablity and a flowering of its indigenous culture. Following the Treaty of Kanagawa with the United States in 1854, Japan opened its ports 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 1933 Manchuria was occupied and in 1937 a full-scale invasion of China was launched. 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 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 starting in the 1990s following three decades of unprecedented growth.
Government type:
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $3.582 trillion (2003 est.)
Internet users:
57.2 million (2002)
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