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Political Status: Constitutional monarchy established May 3, 1947; under multiparty parliamentary system.

Area: 145,850 sq. mi. (377,750 sq. km.).

Population: 135,210,095 (2012E—UN); 127,368,088 (2012E—U.S. Census).

Major Urban Centers (2005C): TOKYO (8,490,000), Yokohama (3,580,000), Osaka (2,629,000), Nagoya (2,215,000), Sapporo (1,881,000), Kobe (1,525,000), Kyoto (1,475,000), Fukuoka (1,401,000), Kawasaki (1,327,000), Saitama (1,176,000), Hiroshima (1,154,000), Sendai (1,025,000).

Official Language: Japanese.

Monetary Unit: Yen (market rate October 3, 2011: 76.65 yen = $1US).

Sovereign: Emperor TSUGUNOMIYA AKIHITO; ascended the throne on January 7, 1989, on the death of his father, Showa Emperor MICHINOMIYA HIROHITO.

Heir Apparent: Crown Prince NARUHITO.

Prime Minister: Yoshihiko NODA (Democratic Party of Japan), elected by the Diet on August 30, 2011, and formally appointed by the emperor on September 2 to succeed Naoto KAN (Democratic Party of Japan).

The Country

Situated off the coast of ...

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