Japan - Tips

Japan Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
July 2007

Background Note: Japan

Mount Fuji is Japan's tallest
mountain. Fujiyoshida, Japan,
February 2, 2001. [© AP Images]

Flag of Japan is white with a large red disk (representing the sun without
rays) in the center.

PROFILE

OFFICIAL NAME:
Japan

Geography
Area: 377,864 sq. km. (145,902 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than California.
Cities: Capital--Tokyo. Other cities--Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe,
Kyoto, Fukuoka.
Terrain: Rugged, mountainous islands.
Climate: Varies from subtropical to temperate.

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Japanese.
Population (2007 est.): 127.5 million.
Population growth rate (2007 est.): -0.088%.
Ethnic groups: Japanese; Korean (0.5%).
Religions: Shinto and Buddhist; Christian (about 0.7%).
Language: Japanese.
Education: Literacy--99%.
Health (2007 est.): Infant mortality rate--2.8/1,000. Life expectancy--males
78 yrs., females 85 yrs.
Work force (67 million, 2003): services--42%; trade, manufacturing, mining,
and construction--46%; agriculture, forestry, fisheries--5%; government--3%.

Government
Type: Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government.
Constitution: May 3, 1947.
Branches: Executive--prime minister (head of government).
Legislative--bicameral Diet (House of Representatives and House of
Councillors). Judicial--civil law system based on the model of Roman law.
Administrative subdivisions: 47 prefectures.
Political parties: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ), New Clean Government Party (Komeito), Japan Communist Party (JCP),
Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Suffrage: Universal at 20.

Economy
GDP (2006 est.): $4.883 trillion (official exchange rate); $3.902 trillion
(PPP).
Real growth rate (2006): 2.2%.
Per capita GDP (2006 est. PPP): $34,155.
Natural resources: Fish and few mineral resources.
Agriculture: Products--rice, vegetables, fruit, milk, meat, silk.
Industry: Types--machinery and equipment, metals and metal products,
textiles, autos, chemicals, electrical and electronic equipment.

GEOGRAPHY
Japan, a country of islands, extends along the eastern or Pacific coast of
Asia. The four main islands, running from north to south, are Hokkaido,
Honshu (or the mainland), Shikoku, and Kyushu. Okinawa Island is about 380
miles southwest of Kyushu. About 3,000 smaller islands are included in the
archipelago. In total land area, Japan is slightly smaller than California.
About 73% of the country is mountainous, with a chain running through each of
the main islands. Japan's highest mountain is the world famous Mt. Fuji
(12,385 feet). Since so little flat area exists, many hills and mountainsides
are cultivated all the way to the summits. As Japan is situated in a volcanic
zone along the Pacific depth, frequent low intensity earth tremors and
occasional volcanic activity are felt throughout the islands. Destructive
earthquakes occur several times a century. Hot springs are numerous and have
been developed as resorts.

Temperature extremes are less pronounced than in the United States, but the
climate varies considerably. Sapporo, on the northernmost main island, has
warm summers and long, cold winters with heavy snowfall. Tokyo, Nagoya,
Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, in central and western parts of the largest island of
Honshu, experience relatively mild winters with little or no snowfall and
hot, humid summers. Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu, has a climate similar
to that of Washington, DC, with mild winters and short summers. Okinawa is
subtropical.

PEOPLE
Japan's population, currently some 128 million, has experienced a phenomenal
growth rate during the past 100 years as a result of scientific, industrial,
and sociological changes, but this has recently slowed because of falling
birth rates. In 2005, Japan's population declined for the first time, two
years earlier than predicted. High sanitary and health standards produce a
life expectancy exceeding that of the United States.

Japan is an urban society with only about 4% of the labor force engaged in
agriculture. Many farmers supplement their income with part-time jobs in
nearby towns and cities. About 80 million of the urban population is heavily
concentrated on the Pacific shore of Honshu and in northern Kyushu. Major
population centers include: Metropolitan Tokyo with approximately 14 million;
Yokohama with 3.3 million; Osaka with 2.6 million; Nagoya with 2.1 million;
Sapporo with 1.6 million; Kyoto with 1.5 million; Kobe with 1.4 million; and
Kitakyushu, Kawasaki, and Fukuoka with 1.2 million each. Japan faces the same
problems that confront urban industrialized societies throughout the world:
overcrowded cities, congested roads, air pollution, and rising juvenile
delinquency.

Shintoism and Buddhism are Japan's two principal religions. Shintoism is
founded on myths and legends emanating from the early animistic worship of
natural phenomena. Since it was unconcerned with problems of afterlife which
dominate Buddhist thought, and since Buddhism easily accommodated itself to
local faiths, the two religions comfortably coexisted, and Shinto shrines and
Buddhist temples often became administratively linked. Today many Japanese
are adherents of both faiths. From the 16th to the 19th century Shintoism
flourished.

Adopted by the leaders of the Meiji restoration, Shintoism received state
support and was cultivated as a spur to patriotic and nationalistic feelings.
Following World War II, state support was discontinued, and the emperor
disavowed divinity. Today Shintoism plays a more peripheral role in the life
of the Japanese people. The numerous shrines are visited regularly by a few
believers and, if they are historically famous or known for natural beauty,
by many sightseers. Many marriages are held in the shrines, and children are
brought there after birth and on certain anniversary dates; special shrine
days are celebrated for certain occasions, and numerous festivals are held
throughout the year. Many homes have "god shelves" where offerings can be
made to Shinto deities.

Buddhism first came to Japan in the 6th century and for the next 10 centuries
exerted profound influence on its intellectual, artistic, social, and
political life. Most funerals are conducted by Buddhist priests, and many
Japanese visit family graves and Buddhist temples to pay respects to
ancestors.

Confucianism arrived with the first great wave of Chinese influence into
Japan between the 6th and 9th centuries. Overshadowed by Buddhism, it
survived as an organized philosophy into the late 19th century and remains
today as an important influence on Japanese thought and values.

Christianity, first introduced into Japan in 1549, was virtually stamped out
by the government a century later; it was reintroduced in the late 1800s and
has spread slowly. Today it has 1.4 million adherents, including a relatively
high percentage of important figures in education and public affairs.

Beyond the three traditional religions, many Japanese today are turning to a
great variety of popular religious movements normally lumped together under
the name "new religions." These religions draw on the concept of Shinto,
Buddhism, and folk superstition and have developed in part to meet the social
needs of elements of the population. The officially recognized new religions
number in the hundreds, and total membership is reportedly in the tens of
millions.

HISTORY
Japanese legend maintains that Japan was founded in 600 BC by the Emperor
Jimmu, a direct descendant of the sun goddess and ancestor of the present
ruling imperial family. About AD 405, the Japanese court officially adopted
the Chinese writing system. Together with the introduction of Buddhism in the
sixth century, these two events revolutionized Japanese culture and marked
the beginning of a long period of Chinese cultural influence. From the
establishment of the first fixed capital at Nara in 710 until 1867, the
emperors of the Yamato dynasty were the nominal rulers, but actual power was
usually held by powerful court nobles, regents, or "shoguns" (military
governors).

Contact With the West
The first recorded contact with the West occurred about 1542, when a
Portuguese ship, blown off its course to China, landed in Japan. During the
next century, traders from Portugal, the Netherlands, England, and Spain
arrived, as did Jesuit, Dominican, and Franciscan missionaries. During the
early part of the 17th century, Japan's shogunate suspected that the traders
and missionaries were actually forerunners of a military conquest by European
powers. This caused the shogunate to place foreigners under progressively
tighter restrictions. Ultimately, Japan forced all foreigners to leave and
barred all relations with the outside world except for severely restricted
commercial contacts with Dutch and Chinese merchants at Nagasaki. This
isolation lasted for 200 years, until Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S.
Navy negotiated the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of
Kanagawa in 1854.

Within several years, renewed contact with the West profoundly altered
Japanese society. The shogunate resigned, and the emperor was restored to
power. The "Meiji restoration" of 1868 initiated many reforms. The feudal
system was abolished, and numerous Western institutions were adopted,
including a Western legal and educational system and constitutional
government along parliamentary lines.

In 1898, the last of the "unequal treaties" with Western powers was removed,
signaling Japan's new status among the nations of the world. In a few
decades, by creating modern social, educational, economic, military, and
industrial systems, the Emperor Meiji's "controlled revolution" had
transformed a feudal and isolated state into a world power.

Wars With China and Russia
Japanese leaders of the late 19th century regarded the Korean Peninsula as a
potential threat to Japan. It was over Korea that Japan became involved in
war with the Chinese Empire in 1894-95 and with Russia in 1904-05. The war
with China established Japan's domination of Korea, while also giving it the
Pescadores Islands and Formosa (now Taiwan). After Japan defeated Russia in
1905, the resulting Treaty of Portsmouth awarded Japan certain rights in
Manchuria and in southern Sakhalin, which Russia had received in 1875 in
exchange for the Kurile Islands. Both wars gave Japan a free hand in Korea,
which it formally annexed in 1910.

World War I to 1952
World War I permitted Japan, which fought on the side of the victorious
Allies, to expand its influence in Asia and its territorial holdings in the
Pacific. The postwar era brought Japan unprecedented prosperity. Japan went
to the peace conference at Versailles in 1919 as one of the great military
and industrial powers of the world and received official recognition as one
of the "Big Five" of the new international order. It joined the League of
Nations and received a mandate over Pacific islands north of the Equator
formerly held by Germany.

During the 1920s, Japan progressed toward a democratic system of government.
However, parliamentary government was not rooted deeply enough to withstand
the economic and political pressures of the 1930s, during which military
leaders became increasingly influential.

Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and set up the puppet state of Manchukuo. In
1933, Japan resigned from the League of Nations. The Japanese invasion of
China in 1937 followed Japan's signing of the "anti-Comintern pact" with Nazi
Germany the previous year and was part of a chain of developments culminating
in the Japanese attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on
December 7, 1941.

After years of war, resulting in the loss of 3 million Japanese lives and the
atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan signed an instrument of
surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Harbor on September 2, 1945. As a
result of World War II, Japan lost all of its overseas possessions and
retained only the home islands. Manchukuo was dissolved, and Manchuria was
returned to China; Japan renounced all claims to Formosa; Korea was occupied
and divided by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.; southern Sakhalin and the Kuriles
were occupied by the U.S.S.R.; and the U.S. became the sole administering
authority of the Ryukyu, Bonin, and Volcano Islands. The 1972 reversion of
Okinawa completed the U.S. return of control of these islands to Japan.

After the war, Japan was placed under international control of the Allies
through the Supreme Commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. U.S. objectives were
to ensure that Japan would become a peaceful nation and to establish
democratic self-government supported by the freely expressed will of the
people. Political, economic, and social reforms were introduced, such as a
freely elected Japanese Diet (legislature) and universal adult suffrage. The
country's constitution took effect on May 3, 1947. The United States and 45
other Allied nations signed the Treaty of Peace with Japan in September 1951.
The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in March 1952, and under the terms of the
treaty, Japan regained full sovereignty on April 28, 1952.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Japan is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government. There is
universal adult suffrage with a secret ballot for all elective offices.
Sovereignty, previously embodied in the emperor, is vested in the Japanese
people, and the Emperor is defined as the symbol of the state.

Japan's Government is a parliamentary democracy, with a House of
Representatives and a House of Councillors. Executive power is vested in 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. The judiciary is
independent.

The five major political parties represented in the National Diet are the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the New
Clean Government Party (Komeito), the Japan Communist Party (JCP), and the
Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Japan's judicial system, drawn from customary law, civil law, and
Anglo-American common law, consists of several levels of courts, with the
Supreme Court as the final judicial authority. The Japanese constitution
includes a bill of rights similar to the U.S. Bill of Rights, and the Supreme
Court has the right of judicial review. Japanese courts do not use a jury
system, and there are no administrative courts or claims courts. Because of
the judicial system's basis, court decisions are made in accordance with
legal statutes. Only Supreme Court decisions have any direct effect on later
interpretation of the law.

Japan does not have a federal system, and its 47 prefectures are not
sovereign entities in the sense that U.S. states are. Most depend on the
central government for subsidies. Governors of prefectures, mayors of
municipalities, and prefectural and municipal assembly members are popularly
elected to 4-year terms.

Recent Political Developments
The post-World War II years saw tremendous economic growth in Japan, with the
political system dominated by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). That total
domination lasted until the Diet Lower House elections on July 18, 1993, in
which the LDP failed for the first time to win a majority. The LDP returned
to power in 1994.

Shinzo Abe was elected Prime Minister in a Diet vote in September 2006. Abe
is the first Prime Minister to be born after World War II and the youngest
Prime Minister since the war. Abe comes from one of Japan's political
families. His grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was elected Prime Minister in 1957
and his father, Shintaro Abe, was a former foreign minister. Abe took over
his father's parliamentary seat after his death in 1993 and gained national
popularity for his firm stance against North Korea for its abductions of
Japanese citizens. Despite a reputation as a conservative nationalist, Shinzo
Abe has taken positive steps to improve relations with South Korea and China.
He visited Beijing and Seoul during his first trip overseas as Prime
Minister. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Tokyo in April 2007.

Principal Government Officials
Head of State--Emperor Akihito
Prime Minister (Head of Government)--Shinzo Abe
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Taro Aso
Ambassador to the U.S.--Ryozo Kato
Permanent Representative to the UN--Kenzo Oshima

Japan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2520 Massachusetts Avenue
NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-238-6700; fax: 202-328-2187).

ECONOMY
Japan's industrialized, free market economy is the second-largest in the
world Its economy is highly efficient and competitive in areas linked to
international trade, but productivity is far lower in protected areas such as
agriculture, distribution, and services. After achieving one of the highest
economic growth rates in the world from the 1960s through the 1980s, the
Japanese economy slowed dramatically in the early 1990s, when the "bubble
economy" collapsed, marked by plummeting stock and real estate prices.

Japan's reservoir of industrial leadership and technicians, well-educated and
industrious work force, high savings and investment rates, and intensive
promotion of industrial development and foreign trade produced a mature
industrial economy. Japan has few natural resources, and trade helps it earn
the foreign exchange needed to purchase raw materials for its economy.

Japan's long-term economic prospects are considered good, and it has largely
recovered from its worst period of economic stagnation since World War II.
Real GDP in Japan grew at an average of roughly 1% yearly in the 1990s,
compared to growth in the 1980s of about 4% per year. The Japanese economy is
now in its longest postwar expansion after more than a decade of stagnation.
Real growth in 2005 was 2.7% and was 2.2% in 2006.

Agriculture, Energy, and Minerals
Only 15% of Japan's land is arable. The agricultural economy is highly
subsidized and protected. With per hectare crop yields among the highest in
the world, Japan maintains an overall agricultural self-sufficiency rate of
about 40% on fewer than 5.6 million cultivated hectares (14 million acres).
Japan normally produces a slight surplus of rice but imports large quantities
of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans, primarily from the United States.
Japan is the largest market for U.S. agricultural exports.

Given its heavy dependence on imported energy, Japan has aimed to diversify
its sources. Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, Japan has reduced dependence
on petroleum as a source of energy from more than 75% in 1973 to about 57% at
present. Other important energy sources are coal, liquefied natural gas,
nuclear power, and hydropower.

Deposits of gold, magnesium, and silver meet current industrial demands, but
Japan is dependent on foreign sources for many of the minerals essential to
modern industry. Iron ore, coke, copper, and bauxite must be imported, as
must many forest products.

Labor
Japan's labor force consists of some 67 million workers, 40% of whom are
women. Labor union membership is about 12 million.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
Japan is the world's second-largest economy and a major economic power both
in Asia and globally. Japan has diplomatic relations with nearly all
independent nations and has been an active member of the United Nations since
1956. Japanese foreign policy has aimed to promote peace and prosperity for
the Japanese people by working closely with the West and supporting the
United Nations.

In recent years, the Japanese public has shown a substantially greater
awareness of security issues and increasing support for the Self Defense
Forces. This is in part due to the Self Defense Forces' success in disaster
relief efforts at home, and its participation in peacekeeping operations such
as in Cambodia in the early 1990s and Iraq in 2005-2006. However, there are
still significant political and psychological constraints on strengthening
Japan's security profile. Although a military role for Japan in international
affairs is highly constrained by its constitution and government policy,
Japanese cooperation with the United States through the 1960 U.S.-Japan
Security Treaty has been important to the peace and stability of East Asia.
Currently, there are domestic discussions about possible reinterpretation or
revision of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution. Prime Minister Abe has
made revising or reinterpreting the Japanese constitution a priority of his
administration. All postwar Japanese governments have relied on a close
relationship with the United States as the foundation of their foreign policy
and have depended on the Mutual Security Treaty for strategic protection.

While maintaining its relationship with the United States, Japan has
diversified and expanded its ties with other nations. Good relations with its
neighbors continue to be of vital interest. After the signing of a peace and
friendship treaty with China in 1978, ties between the two countries
developed rapidly. Japan extended significant economic assistance to the
Chinese in various modernization projects and supported Chinese membership in
the World Trade Organization (WTO). Japan's economic assistance to China is
now declining. In recent years, however, Chinese exploitation of gas fields
in the East China sea has raised Japanese concerns given disagreement over
the demarcation of their maritime boundary. Prime Minister Abe's October 2006
visits to Beijing and Seoul helped improve relations with China and South
Korea that had been strained following Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to
Yasukuni Shrine. At the same time, Japan maintains economic and cultural but
not diplomatic relations with Taiwan, with which a strong bilateral trade
relationship thrives.

Territorial disputes and historical animosities continue to strain Japan's
political relations with South Korea despite growing economic and cultural
ties. Japan has limited economic and commercial ties with North Korea. A
surprise visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to Pyongyang on September 17, 2002,
resulted in renewed discussions on contentious bilateral issues--especially
that of abductions to North Korea of Japanese citizens--and Japan's agreement
to resume normalization talks in the near future. In October 2002, five
abductees returned to Japan, but soon after negotiations reached a stalemate
over the fate of abductees' families in North Korea. Japan strongly supported
the United States in its efforts to encourage Pyongyang to abide by the
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its agreements with the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Japan responded to North Korea's missile
launches and nuclear tests by imposing sanctions and working with the United
Nations Security Council. The U.S., Japan, and South Korea closely coordinate
and consult trilaterally on policy toward North Korea, and Japan participates
in the Six-Party Talks to end North Korea's nuclear arms ambitions.

Japan's relations with Russia are hampered by the two sides' inability to
resolve their territorial dispute over the islands that make up the Northern
Territories (Southern Kuriles) seized by the U.S.S.R. at the end of World War
II. In August 2006, a Russian patrol shot at a Japanese fishing vessel,
claiming the vessel was in Russian waters, killing one crewmember and taking
three seamen into custody. The stalemate over territorial issues has
prevented conclusion of a peace treaty formally ending the war between Japan
and Russia. The United States supports Japan on the Northern Territories
issue and recognizes Japanese sovereignty over the islands. Despite the lack
of progress in resolving the Northern Territories dispute, however, Japan and
Russia have made progress in developing other aspects of the relationship.

Japan has pursued a more active foreign policy in recent years, recognizing
the responsibility that accompanies its economic strength. It has expanded
ties with the Middle East, which provides most of its oil, and has been the
second-largest assistance donor (behind the U.S.) to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Japan's Ground Self Defense Force completed a successful two-year mission in
Iraq in 2006 and the Diet in October extended the Anti-Terrorism Special
Measures Law which allowed for Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force refueling
activities in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Indian Ocean. On
July 10, 2007 the Japanese Government decided to extend the Air Self-Defense
Force's (ASDF) airlift support mission in Iraq to July 31, 2008. Under the
Iraq Special Measures Law a wing of the ASDF's C-130 transport planes, based
in Kuwait, will continue to carry personnel and supplies for the U.S.-led
multinational forces and the United Nations in Iraq. The law has been
extended to July 31, 2009 and will be voted on again in 2008.

Japan increasingly is active in Africa and Latin America--recently concluding
negotiations with Mexico and Chile on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
--and has extended significant support to development projects in both
regions. A Japanese-conceived peace plan became the foundation for nationwide
elections in Cambodia in 1998. Japan's economic engagement with its neighbors
is increasing, as evidenced by the conclusion of an EPA with Singapore and
the Philippines, and its ongoing negotiations for EPAs with Thailand and
Malaysia.

In May 2007, just prior to the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Prime Minister Abe
announced an initiative to address greenhouse gas emissions and seek to
mitigate the impact of energy consumption on climate. Japan will host the G8
Summit in 2008.

U.S.-JAPAN RELATIONS
The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of U.S. security interests in Asia
and is fundamental to regional stability and prosperity. Despite the changes
in the post-Cold War strategic landscape, the U.S.-Japan alliance continues
to be based on shared vital interests and values. These include stability in
the Asia-Pacific region, the preservation and promotion of political and
economic freedoms, support for human rights and democratic institutions, and
securing of prosperity for the people of both countries and the international
community as a whole.

Japan provides bases and financial and material support to U.S.
forward-deployed forces, which are essential for maintaining stability in the
region. Under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, Japan
hosts a carrier battle group, the III Marine Expeditionary Force, the 5th Air
Force, and elements of the Army's I Corps. The United States currently
maintains approximately 50,000 troops in Japan, about half of whom are
stationed in Okinawa.

Over the past decade the alliance has been strengthened through revised
Defense Guidelines, which expand Japan's noncombatant role in a regional
contingency, the renewal of our agreement on Host Nation Support of U.S.
forces stationed in Japan, and an ongoing process called the Defense Policy
Review Initiative (DPRI). The DPRI redefines roles, missions, and
capabilities of alliance forces and outlines key realignment and
transformation initiatives, including reducing the number of troops stationed
in Okinawa, enhancing interoperability and communication between our
respective commands, and broadening our cooperation in the area of ballistic
missile defense.

Implementation of these agreements will strengthen our capabilities and make
our alliance more sustainable. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001,
Japan has participated significantly with the global war on terrorism by
providing major logistical support for U.S. and coalition forces in the
Indian Ocean.

Because of the two countries' combined economic and technological impact on
the world, the U.S.-Japan relationship has become global in scope. The United
States and Japan cooperate on a broad range of global issues, including
development assistance, combating communicable disease such as the spread of
HIV/AIDS and avian influenza, and protecting the environment and natural
resources. Both countries also collaborate in science and technology in such
areas as mapping the human genome, research on aging, and international space
exploration. As one of Asia's most successful democracies and its largest
economy, Japan contributes irreplaceable political, financial, and moral
support to U.S.-Japan diplomatic efforts. The United States consults closely
with Japan and the Republic of Korea on policy regarding North Korea. In
Southeast Asia, U.S.-Japan cooperation is vital for stability and for
political and economic reform. Outside Asia, Japanese political and financial
support has substantially strengthened the U.S. position on a variety of
global geopolitical problems, including the Gulf, Middle East peace efforts,
and the Balkans. Japan is an indispensable partner on UN reform and the
second largest contributor to the UN budget. Japan broadly supports the
United States on nonproliferation and nuclear issues. The U.S. supports
Japan's aspiration to become a permanent member of the United Nations
Security Council.

Economic Relations
U.S. economic policy toward Japan is aimed at increasing access to Japan's
markets and two-way investment, stimulating domestic demand-led economic
growth, promoting economic restructuring, improving the climate for U.S.
investors, and raising the standard of living in both the United States and
Japan. The U.S.-Japan bilateral economic relationship--based on enormous
flows of trade, investment, and finance--is strong, mature, and increasingly
interdependent. Further, it is firmly rooted in the shared interest and
responsibility of the United States and Japan to promote global growth, open
markets, and a vital world trading system. In addition to bilateral economic
ties, the U.S. and Japan cooperate closely in multilateral fora such as the
WTO, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank,
and the International Monetary Fund, and regionally in the Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).

Japan is a major market for many U.S. products, including chemicals,
pharmaceuticals, films and music, commercial aircraft, nonferrous metals,
plastics, and medical and scientific supplies. Japan also is the largest
foreign market for U.S. agricultural products, with total agricultural
exports valued at $9.7 billion, excluding forestry products. Revenues from
Japanese tourism to the United States reached nearly $13 billion in 2005.

Trade between the United States and Japan remained strong in 2006. Total
trade grew about 7.3% year-on-year. U.S. exports to Japan reached $59.6
billion in 2006, up from $55.4 billion in 2005. U.S. imports from Japan
totaled $148.1 billion in 2006 ($138.1 billion in 2005).

U.S. foreign direct investment in Japan reached $78 billion in 2004, up from
$73 billion in 2003. New U.S. investment was especially significant in
financial services, Internet services, and software, generating new export
opportunities for U.S. firms and employment for U.S. workers.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--J. Thomas Schieffer
Deputy Chief of Mission--Joe Donovan
Political Minister-Counselor--Michael Meserve
Economic Minister-Counselor--Robert Cekuta
Consul General--Raymond Baca
Management Affairs--David Davison
Commercial Minister--John Peters
Public Affairs--Ronald Post
Defense Attache--Capt. James White, USN
The street address and the international mailing address of the U.S. Embassy
in Japan is 10-5 Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo (107); tel.
81-3-3224-5000; fax 81-3-3505-1862. The APO mailing address is American
Embassy Tokyo, Unit 45004, Box 258, APO AP 96337-5004. U.S. Consulates
General are in Osaka, Sapporo, and Naha, and Consulates are in Fukuoka and
Nagoya. The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan is at 7th floor, Fukide No.
2 Bldg., 1-21 Toranomon 4-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo (105). Additional
information is available on the U.S. Embassy's Internet home page: http://
tokyo.usembassy.gov.

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conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained
by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular
toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of
State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport
information. Telephone: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service
representatives and operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 7:00
a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP
(877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the
most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements,
and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A
booklet entitled "Health Information for International Travel" (HHS
publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://
www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global
access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background
Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of
Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies
working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market
information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free
export counseling, help with the export process, and more.
STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides
authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from
the Federal government. The site includes current and historical
trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities,
and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank. ***********************************************************
See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/bgn/ for all Background notes
************************************************************
To change your subscription, go to http://www.state.gov/misc/echannels/66822.htm Japan

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