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Basic information about Japan

1. Basic data

Population: 127,614,000 (as of February 2009; Estimated by Statistics Bureau of Japan)
Population density: 343/1km2 (as of October 2005; Census) Area: 377,835 sq km
GDP/cap: $33,626 (as of 2007; OECD)
Administrative division: 47 prefectures
Capital: Tokyo (Population of 12,576,601 for the entire administrative division area)

2. Politics

Governement type: Constitutional Monarchy, Parliamentary system
Legislative organ: Kokkai (National Diet)
Bicameral system of Shugiin (House of Representative) and Sangiin (House of Councilor)

Election system: Mixed system, single-member district and proportional representation for Shugiin, and multi-member district and proportional representation for Sangiin.

Current governing parties: LDP and Komei coalition (as of July 2009)
Current Prime Minister: Aso, Taro (LDP) (as of July 2009)
Major opposition parties: DPJ, JCP, SDP, etc.

Administrative divisions and bureaucratic system: Cabinet Office and 12 Ministries and Agencies (2001-)

3. Economy

Labor force: 66.89 million (official: As of May 2009)
Unemployment rate: 5.2% (official, seasonally adjusted, as of May 2009); 4.0% in May 2008.
Government's financial balance: Deficit of 2.7% of the nominal GDP (2007)


4. Recent important political events


  • LDP lost the general election (Shugiin)
  • Hosokawa coalition government (7 parties) was formed.


  • Coalition governmen collapsed.
  • LDP, SD and Sakigake coalition was formed.
  • Election system reform agreed.
    --> Mixed system of Single Member District and Proportional Representation.


  • Murayama apologized China for the invasion in the WWII (Murayama doctorine)
  • Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake
  • Aum Shinrikyo's (a religious cult group) Sarin terrorism in Tokyo


  • The first general election under the new election system.
    -->LDP gained majority.


  • Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was formed.
  • Basic Reform Law of Central Government Agencies passed.


  • LDP coalized with Komei and Liberal Party


  • Kato no ran (an influencial LDP Diet member, Kato Ko'ichi dissented but failed to pass the vote of no-confidence of Mori government).


  • Current system of Cabinet Office and 12 Ministries and Agencies enforced
  • Koizumi Jun'ichiro became a PM --> LDP's victory in the general election (Shugiin)


  • Koizumi visited North Korea for the first time


  • Liberal Party was integrated to DPJ


  • LDP's landslide victory in the general election (Shugiin)


  • DPJ's landslide victory in the general election for the first time (Sangiin)
  • Shugiin is still controlled by LDP+Komei coalition, but DPJ became the largest party in Sangiin


  • PM Fukuda resigned, and Taro Aso was elected to be a PM (September)


  • DPJ's landslide victory in the general election for the second time (Shugiin: The end of the LDP's domination).
    • Hatoyama government (DPJ) is to start.


Sources: Statistics Bureau of Japan; CIA; OECD. 2009. Stat Extract; BBC. Timeline: Japan.

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