Japan Country File

Understand the basics of Japan's geography, history, economy and politics at a glance...

Japan, or Nippon (literally meaning 'sun's origin') is officially known as the State of Japan and is an island nation situated in North-eastern Asia. It lies to the east of the Sea of Japan and the west of the Pacific Ocean. Although it has no land borders, its nearest neighbours are China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia.

It has an estimated population of 127 million people, making it the tenth most populous country in the world with the majority of inhabitants living in densely populated urban areas. The official language of the country is Japanese; however, English is a compulsory subject taught in all schools.

There is religious freedom in Japan allowing for the practising of any faith. The faiths of Shinto and Buddhism are the main religions, but many Japanese incorporate elements of varying religious faiths rather than following a single belief. It has been estimated that 84 percent of Japanese do not have a religion.

At 81.25 years of age, Japan has one of the highest life-expectancy rates in the world.