Essay on Japan Country
Surface and Localization
Japan is a country that consists of various islands that form an arc in the Pacific Ocean. It is situated to the east of the Asian Continent. It is made of four large islands, namely, Shikoku, Honshu, Kyushu, and Hokkaido (Murray 25). In addition to the four large islands, the country also consists of thousands of small islands. To the country’s east lies the Pacific Ocean, while it is separated by the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea from the rest of the Asian continent. The country has a total land area of approximately 378,000km2. As a result, the country is approximately 1/25 of the size of the USA.
The countries that are closest neighbors to Japan include Korea, Russia, and China. Japan has several large and developed cities, including Tokyo, which is the largest. It has approximately nine million inhabitants, which is higher than the combined population of the countries second, third and fourth largest cities. The other large cities are Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya (Ellington 23). Japanese is the country’s national language and also the most widely used one. As a result of the country’s large North-South extension, there is a strong variation in the climate (Ellington 25). The countries most major cities, including Tokyo, have the temperate to subtropical climate with four seasons. The winter is usually mild while the summer is usually humid and hot. In early summer, there are rains, while typhoons are experienced during late summer. Most of the country has weak podzolic soils zone, red earth zone, and a brown earth zone (Ellington 51). However, there are variations in other regions. The country experiences natural disasters, including volcanoes and earthquakes. It is mainly attributed to the location of the country where numerous tectonic plates meet. Mt. Fiji is the most famous volcano and highest mountain.
As of July 2014, Japan had a population of 127,103,388 people and the growth rate was estimated to be -0.13%. As of 2011, the urban population in Japan was estimated to be 91.3%, with the country’s rate of urbanization being 0.57%. The country’s population density is estimated to be approximately 336 people in every square kilometer. To compare, the population density in the USA is approximately 36.06 people per square kilometer. The birth rate in the country is estimated at 8.07 births per 1000 people, while the death rate is estimated at 9.38 deaths per 100 people. There is a net of 0 migrants per 1000 people as of 2014. The country’s population consists of 98.5% Japanese, 0.5% Koreans, 0.4% Chinese, and other ethnic groups form approximately 0.6%. As a result, the largest majority of the country’s population is the Japanese ethnic group. The country has a high literacy level with individuals aged 15 and above being able to read and write. There is a literacy level of 99%, and it applies to both male and female. The school life expectancy is 15 years and 3.8% of the GDP is spent on education.
The country spends 9.3% of the GDP on health expenditures and there is approximately 2.14 physicians serving 1000 people as of 2008. For every 1000 people within the population, there are 13.7 beds. The obesity prevalence rate is 5%. The maternal mortality rate is estimated at approximately 5 deaths for every 100,000 live births as of 2010. Japan is one of the countries with a high number of healthy people. The factors affecting health in Japan include culture, universal health care system, and isolation. The country has a higher suicide rate than the USA.
Social and Cultural Issues
Japan is largely homogenous and it lacks deep class, ethnic, or religious divisions. In addition, the country’s gap between the rich and the poor is not very striking compared to other nations. Approximately 90% of the country’s population is considered middle class. It is a remarkable difference from what has been recorded in the history of Japan where significant differences were experienced. However, there exist some social differences shown in the discrimination in education, marriage, and employment, especially concerning the nation’s Korean minority. The country is mainly group-oriented even with the shift toward the empowerment of individuals. Most of the groups in the country are structured using hierarchical means. Members of a group have ranks based on their responsibilities.
There is freedom to practice any religion with majority of the people being Shinto at 83.9%. The Buddhists form approximately 71.5%, 2% of people are Christians and other religions form 7.8%. There is an excess of 100% on all since most people confess both Shintoism and Buddhism. There are no major conflicts based on religious beliefs. The main language spoken is Japanese, but other languages, including Korean and English, are used. The lifestyle of the Japanese people involves gestures and etiquette, which are common and different from most other countries. Their meanings may also vary from the conventional gestures, and they are derived from the country’s culture. The society is governed by numerous subtle norms that are based on authority, respect, self-discipline, hierarchy, and they also emphasize on the interactions among people. For instance, greetings are highly regarded in Japan. The business etiquette in Japan involves politeness, sensitivity, and good manners. It is vital for a foreign firm to understand that politeness, good manners, and respect are highly regarded by the Japanese people.
The freedom score for the Japan economy is 73.3 according to the 2015 index (Heritage.org 259). The country has a free market economy with a 1.2% average tariff rate. Investing in some of the sectors undergoes screening (Heritage.org 259). The government has significant shares in the banking sector, which means that it has control in the financial sector. The company’s economy is abenomics, which means that it has an aggressive set of fiscal and monetary policies, which focus on aiding the country to overcome the deflation. In addition, the country faces major risks as the policies may cause inflation. However, the policies support both local and foreign investments. Since 1980, Japan’s GDP growth rate has averaged 0.49. The growth rates in 2011, 2012 and 2013 were -0.5%, 1.8% and 1.6% respectively. In 2013, the GDP was $4901 billion, with 38,633.71 GDP per capita (Tradingeconomics.com). In 2012 and 2011, the GDP was $5.954 trillion and $5.906 trillion respectively. The GDP per capita in 2011 and 2012 was $46,203.70 and $46,679.27 respectively.
The per capita annual income in Japan was $44,085 as of 2011, compared to $27,334 in the USA in 2010. The country’s share of income is taken from the top 1% with exception of capital gains, which peaked at 9.5% in 2008 before dropping slightly in 2012 to 9%. It contrasts from the USA with its top 1%, which had 17.5% of the income in 2013, which was an increase from 16.7% in 2009 (Dept, International M. F. A. P. 2). Japan has almost full employment rate of 3.40% in March 2015, compared to 5.5% in the USA at the same time. In March 2015, the country’s inflation rate was recorded at 2.30%, and it has a public deficit of 23.5%. The interest rate in 2013 was 1.9%. Japan is an information age country that is still creating industries in the information technology sector. It is the world’s third largest economy after China and the USA (Janka 216). Japan is among the leading countries in terms of technological development. It is a net exporter of technology-related products.
The banking system in Japan has maintained stability in the recent past. There was a slight increase in in the volatility of the stock prices in 2014; however, it has been low in the government bond and forex markets. The volatility in 2014 resulted from the investors being increasingly risk averse due to nervousness on the emerging markets. The development in the financial markets and institutions indicate that there are no warnings regarding financial imbalances, for example, excessive expectations regarding an increase in the prices. Macros tests results indicate that financial institutions can maintain the capital adequacy ratio levels. The medical care system in Japan is designed in a way that all services are available to all its citizens through the employer-purchased insurance. In addition, they have controlled heath care expenditures. There are compulsory health insurances that are financed through compulsory deductions in salaries. The patients have the freedom to choose from available providers who are, in turn, paid by the government through a uniform method and rate.
Japan has a well-established telecommunication and media infrastructure. However, since the 2011 earthquake, the government has focused on other urgent issues, including the changing of electric power policies (Janka 216). The country is in the forefront in the adoption of the new technologies, such as, for example, the 4G networking. The government has set regulations to govern the telecommunication and media infrastructure. For instance, there is the Wire Telecommunication Act, which facilitates Wired Transmission Act, Radio Act, Telecommunications Business Act, and Business Act. The public transport system in Japan is highly efficient especially in the urban areas. The system enables punctuality and it is used by numerous people.
Japan has well-established international trade policies. As of 2013, the county was contemplating effecting Free Trade Agreements with different countries. The county offers attractive opportunities that are available to investors. The environment is conducive for business, cost competitiveness, infrastructure, as well as advanced technology (Web Japan 2). In addition, the employee pool is highly skilled due to the country’s high education level. Investing in the country can be beneficial for both Japan and the world’s largest economies, and, as a result, it welcomes foreign investors. The country’s ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry implement effective measures to promote foreign investment. Japan’s exports in March 2015 brought approximately 6927.38 billion Yens of revenue, and the imports brought 6698.12 billion Yens. It shows that Japan is a net exporter, but its margin is small. At the same time, the USA had imports and exports at the level of 239,205 billion USD and 187,837 billion USD respectively (Web Japan 3). Japan is the fifth largest exporter and importer globally. It has a significant role in the global trade as it is a member of numerous trade organizations, including WTO, G-20, G-8, and OECD. The main trade partners include Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, and Korea among others. The country trades with its partner countries through partnership agreements.
Japan has a constitutional monarchy, which is founded on a parliamentary cabinet system. The power of the executive is held by the cabinet where the prime minister sits. The prime minister appoints the ministers and members of the cabinet. The country has various political parties and the ruling political party is a coalition between New Komeito and the Liberal Democratic Party (Heenan 12). There is an imperial family in Japan and the emperor is a state symbol. The country has an ambassador in the USA, as well as the US has its ambassador in Japan. The judicial system in Japan considers the Supreme Court as the highest court in the land. The Japanese law is sourced from the Constitution. The Prefectural Police enacts the law enforcement and it is overseen by the National Police Agency. All matters of corruption and other crimes are conducted through the court system. Japan has numerous allies throughout the world. Anyway, there exist disputes with neighboring countries regarding territorial control (Heenan 17). The country has strained relations with the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan regarding the Senkaku Islands and Okinotorishma (Heritage.org). There are also conflicts with North and South Korea regarding military actions. In addition, the main global threat that Japan faces includes terrorism.