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""Location of Japan on the world map
""Imperial Seal of Japan

"Japan, officially Nippon-koku (日本国) is an "island country in "East Asia. Located in the "Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of "China, "Korea and "Russia. The "characters that make up "Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Japan comprises over 3,000 islands, the largest of which are "Honshū, "Hokkaidō, "Kyūshū and "Shikoku. Most of the islands are "mountainous, many "volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, "Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world's "tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The "Greater Tokyo Area, which includes "the capital city of "Tokyo and several surrounding "prefectures, is the "largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. Since adopting its "constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a "unitary "constitutional monarchy with an "emperor and an elected parliament, the "Diet.

A major economic power, Japan has the world's "third largest economy by "nominal GDP. It is a member of the "United Nations, "G8, "G4, "OECD and "APEC, with the world's "fifth largest defense budget. It is also the world's "fourth largest exporter and "sixth largest importer and a world leader in technology and machinery.

Selected article

""The Akutan Zero is inspected by US military personnel on Akutan Island on July 11, 1942.
The "Akutan Zero was a type 0 model 21 "Mitsubishi "A6M Zero Japanese fighter plane which "crash-landed on "Akutan Island during "World War II. It was captured intact by the Americans in July 1942 and became the first flyable Zero acquired by the United States during the war. Following its capture, it was repaired and flown by American test pilots. As a result of information gained during these tests, American strategists were able to devise tactics to defeat the Zero, which was the "Imperial Japanese Navy's primary fighter plane throughout the war. The Akutan Zero was "a prize almost beyond value to the United States", and "probably one of the greatest prizes of the "Pacific war". Japanese historian "Masatake Okumiya noted that the acquisition of the Akutan Zero "was no less serious" than the Japanese defeat at the "Battle of Midway, and that it "did much to hasten [Japan's] final defeat". The Akutan Zero was destroyed in a training accident in 1945. Pieces of it are preserved in several museums in the United States.

Selected picture

""Mt. Fuji as seen from Lake Ashi
Credit: Kentagon

"Lake Ashi is a "crater lake in "Hakone, Kanagawa. The lake is known for its views of "Mount Fuji and its hot springs.

On this day...

"March 22:



Selected quote

—"Junichiro Koizumi, former "Prime Minister of Japan

Selected biography

""Ayumi Hamasaki
"Ayumi Hamasaki is a Japanese "singer-songwriter and former actress. Also called Ayu by her fans, Hamasaki has been dubbed the "Empress of Pop" due to her popularity and widespread influence in Japan. Born and raised in "Fukuoka, she moved to "Tokyo at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of "Avex CEO "Max Matsuura, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album "A Song for ××. The album debuted atop the "Oricon charts and stayed there for four weeks, establishing her popularity in Japan. Because of her constantly changing image and tight control over her artistry, Hamasaki's popularity extends across Asia; music and fashion trends she has started have spread to countries such as China, Singapore, and Taiwan. She has appeared in or lent her songs to many advertisements and television commercials. Though she originally supported the exploitation of her popularity for commercial purposes, she later reconsidered and eventually opposed her status as an Avex "product".

In the news

March 7: 9 people die in a helicopter crash in Nagano.

Did you know...

""left side view of beige snail with a bit darker head and with brown oblong shell


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"Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E / 36.5; 139

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