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

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

Population: 126,925,843 (2000C); 127,823,000 (2006E).

Major Urban Centers (2005E): TOKYO (8,483,000), Yokohama (3,579,000), 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 (1,155,000), Sendai (1,025,000), Kitakyushu (993,000).

Official Language: Japanese.

Monetary Unit: Yen (market rate November 2, 2007: 114.76 yen = $1US).

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

Crown Prince NARUHITO.

Prime Minister: Yasuo FUKUDA (Liberal Democratic Party); elected by the Diet on September 25, 2007, succeeding Shinzo ABE (Liberal Democratic Party), who had announced his resignation on September 12.

The Country

Situated off the coast of Northeast Asia and stretching some 2,000 ...

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