Japan is an East Asian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean. Japan is an archipelago of 6854 island with the four largest being Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu. These four island account for 97% of Japan's land. Japan has a population of 126.9 Million people which makes it the 10th largest population in the world. Tokyo, the capital city of Japan is the largest metropolitan are in the world. It has over 30 million residents.
Japan is a member of the G8 , APEC and "ASEAN Plus Three". Japan is the third largest donor of official development assistance. The first two are the United States and France . Japan has a close relationship with the United States in terms of economic and military aspects.
Japan has been a member state in the United Nations since 1956; it is also one of the G4 nations seeking to become a permanent member in the Security Council . Japan has been a non-permanent Security Council member for a total of 19 years.
Japan has had some disagreements over the possession and control of some land with some of it neighbouring nations. It has had territorial disputes with Russia over the South Kuril Islands, with South Korea over the Liancourt Rocks, with China and Taiwan over the Senkaku Islands and once again with China over the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) around Okinotorisima. Japan has also faced on-going dispute with North Korea concerning the abduction of Japanese citizens and the nuclear weapons and missile program that North Korea authorises.
Japan has one of the largest military budgets in the world. Japan contributed non-combatant troops to the Iraq War but subsequently withdraw its forces. The deployment of these troops marked the first overseas use of military since World War ll Japan's Military is restricted by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution with states that Japan does not have the right to declare war or use military forces in international disputes. Japans forces have only been used recently in peace keeping matters such as the war in Iraq .
Japan has the third largest economy in the world (GDP). The period after the Second World War was when Japan experienced its high levels of economic growth. Its rapid growth began to slow and run out of steam by the early 1990s. The 1990s is often referred to as the 'Lost Decade' because of it slowdown in economic growth. The government’s attempt to revive the economic growth were, which had little success, were further hampered by the global slowdown in the year 2000.