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

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

Population: 127,768,843 (2005C); 127,801,000 (2008E).

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 December 1, 2009: 86.68 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: Yukio HATOYAMA (Democratic Party of Japan); elected by the Diet on September 16, 2009, following the general election of August 30, in succession to Taro ASO (Liberal Democratic Party), who had formally resigned with his cabinet ...

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