Geographic Location of Japan
Japan consists of several thousand islands, most of them are uninhabited. Most of the population lives on the four largest islands. More than 50% of the country's territory is covered with forest, and only a small part is habitable due to rugged mountainous terrain. Under the islands there are several plates of the earth's crust, and there are more than 80 active volcanoes in the country. Thousands of small and slightly larger earthquakes and eruptions are recorded annually. In March 2011, Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake in the country's history, followed by a massive tsunami that caused great destruction along the northeast coast. Japan has a temperate monsoonal climate with a clear difference in rainfall and temperature between seasons. Winters are cold and windy in the north of the country, while in the southern parts the climate is almost tropical. Air and fresh water pollution is one of Japan's biggest environmental problems.
A Brief History of Japan
Around 300 BC immigrants from mainland China and Korea came to the territory of modern Japan. In the beginning, the society consisted of many small clans, but over time an empire arose, ruled by rival shoguns (commanders in chief). Japan was unified into one kingdom around 1600 after a series of wars. For the next 250 years, the country was more or less closed to the outside world under the Tokugawa dynasty. In the mid-19th century, American pressure caused the country to reopen to the outside world. Power was once again centered around the emperor, who began large-scale modernization reforms throughout society. In a short time, Japan has become one of the most powerful countries in East Asia. In World War II, the country took part on the side of Germany, and in 1945 the allies dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. This ended World War II and is the only time atomic bombs have been used as a weapon in a war. Japan was under American occupation for seven years after the war. A new, pacifist constitution and parliamentary system along the American model were introduced. Japan has lost all its conquests and lands that have always been considered Japanese. In 1951, Japan made peace with the United States and other allies and entered into a defense treaty that gave the United States the right to have troops on Japanese soil. The country has become an East Asian bastion in the US fight against communism. In 1952, Japan regained its sovereignty.
Society and Politics of Japan
Today, Japan plays an important role in international and regional politics. The country is still governed under a pacifist constitution written by the victors of World War II in 1947. With a pacifist constitution, the country will always reject war as a means of resolving conflicts. However, in 2015, parliament approved legislative changes that allow Japan, under certain circumstances, to participate in military operations abroad. Formally, the emperor is the head of state, but the real power belongs to the prime minister. It forms the government through regular elections. In the postwar period, politics was dominated by the Liberal Democratic Party. In recent years, the Democratic Party has also been in power. Access to energy and the use of nuclear power, along with a sluggish economy and an aging population, are among the biggest challenges facing Japan. In addition, relations with China are sometimes tense, especially due to disagreements over who owns the Senkaku archipelago. At the same time, trade and investment between the two countries continue to flourish. The standard of living in Japan is high, and the improvements resulting from economic growth are fairly evenly distributed.
Economy and Trade of Japan
Japan is one of the largest and most important economies in the world. The country is a world leader in a number of areas of electronics and information technology. Less than 15% of Japan's land is used for agriculture. The main product is rice. Having rebuilt its industry in a very short time after the devastation of World War II, Japan has experienced tremendous economic growth since the 1960s. A very highly educated population, political stability, and pre-war industrial structures that existed made explosive growth possible.
Japan does not have a market economy in the traditional sense, since the ties between business and the state are especially close. The authorities often develop rules and measures in close cooperation with the most important companies to ensure sustainable development. The country was hit hard by the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s but bounced back in the 2000s. The financial crisis of 2008 and the tsunami of 2011 had a negative impact on the economy.
A declining working population and a massive wave of older people are calling for a new pension system, and the authorities have set a target of 500,000 overseas workers by 2025 due to the growing older population. The summer of 2018 also saw the signing of a free trade agreement between the EU and Japan, which together account for a third of the global economy.
Japanese Cuisine and Culinary Traditions of Japan
Japanese cuisine is a unique cuisine in its own way, most of the recipes of Japanese cuisine appeared independently of the influence of the culinary traditions of other countries and peoples. The products that were available in Japan also had a strong influence on the formation and development of Japanese cuisine. For this reason, there are many recipes in Japanese cuisine that include rice, fish and seafood. Sushi and rolls, which are made from rice, seafood, fish and other ingredients, have glorified Japanese cuisine all over the world. One of the differences between Japanese cuisine and others is the desire to create not just recipes, but a unique culinary composition that will not only taste good, but also look good. Traditional Japanese cuisine recipes are sushi and rolls, sashimi, onigiri, tempura, okonomiyaki, unagi, karaage, wagyu and kobe beef, shabu-shabu, yakitori, ramen, miso soup, udon, soba, tonkatsu, takoyaki, gyudon, gedza, natto. In addition, Japanese cuisine is rich in desserts - dorayaki, wagashi, daifuku mochi, yokan, dango, mayaki and drinks - sake, umeshu, whiskey, matcha, beer, sethu, as well as various types of ice cream.