Brief Facts About Japan

Japan (Nippon or Nihon, literal meaning: “Origin of Sun”) is a country in Far East Asia, made up of a chain of islands – located between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean peninsula.
Known as the Land of the Rising Sun, its 13 centuries of recorded history have created a distinctive culture.
The Japanese name Nippon is used on stamps and for international sporting events, while Nihon is used more often within Japan.
It is from the Chinese version of the name that the English Japan was derived.
The early Mandarin Chinese word for Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu.
In Malay the Chinese word became Japang and was thus encountered by Portuguese traders in Moluccas in the 16th century.
It is thought the Portuguese traders were the first to bring the word to Europe.
It was first recorded in English in 1577 spelled Giapan.

Official language; Japanese
Capital; Tokyo
Emperor; Akihito
Prime minister; Koizumi Junichiro
Area; 377,835 km²
Population; 127,214,499
Currency; Yen
Time zone; UTC +9
National anthem; Kimi Ga Yo
Internet TLD; .JP
Phone Calling Code; 81

People who live in Japan are ancient descendants of those who came from the Asian continent through Sakhalin, Korea and China, especially around Beijing and Shanghai, and from the South by marine route.
According to traditional Japanese history, Japan was founded in the 7th century BC by the ancestral Emperor Jimmu.
During the 5th and 6th centuries, the Chinese writing system and Buddhism were introduced with other Chinese cultures via the Korean peninsula or directly from China.
The emperors were the nominal rulers, but actual power was usually held by powerful court nobles, regents, or shoguns (military governors).
Ancient political structure held that, once battles between rivals were finished, the victoriuous Shogun would emigrate to the capital Kyoto to rule under the grace of the Emperor.
However, in the year 1185, general Minamoto known as Yoritomo was the first to break this tradition, refusing to relocate and subsequently holding power in Kamakura, just south of present-day Yokohama.

Japan is academically considered a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament, the Kokkai or Diet but most of Japanese feel strange to the term monarchy and quite a few scholars argue Japan is a republic.
Japan has a royal family led by an Emperor, but under the current constitution he holds no power at all, not even emergency reserve powers.
The executive branch is responsible to the Diet, consisting of a cabinet composed of a prime minister and ministers of state, all of whom must be civilians.
The prime minister must be a member of the Diet and is designated by his colleagues.
The prime minister has the power to appoint and remove ministers, a majority of whom must be Diet members.
Sovereignty, previously embodied in the emperor, is vested by the constitution in the Japanese people, and the Emperor is defined as the symbol of the state.
The legislative branch consists of a House of Representatives (Shugi-in) of 480 seats, elected by popular vote every four years, and a House of Councillors (Sangi-in) of 247 seats, whose popularly elected members serve six-year terms.
Each house contains officials elected either directly or proportionally by party.
There is universal adult suffrage with a secret ballot for all elective offices.

Japan is subdivided into 47 prefectures.
The order of the 47 prefectures is from the north to the south, which is commonly accepted in Japan.

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