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Introduction: In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32...

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Economic Overview: Analysis

Japan's highly industrialised market economy is the third-largest in the world in terms of GDP.  Japan's economy was the second largest from 1968 until 2010, when it was overtaken by China.  Japan has a well-educated, industrious work force and its large, affluent population makes it one of the world's largest consumer markets. 

From the 1960s to the1980s, Japan achieved one of the highest economic growth rates in the world.  This was led by high rates of investment in productive plant and equipment, the application of efficient industrial techniques, a high standard of education, good ...

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People: Japan's population, currently just under 127 million, experienced a phenomenal growth rate for much of the 20th century as a result of scientific, industrial, and sociological changes, but birth rates have fallen steadily since the 1970s. In 2005, Japan's population declined for the first time, 2 years earlier than predicted. In 2010, the population growth rate was -1.0%. However, high sanitary ...

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History: A centralised state has existed in Japan since the 4th century. In the middle of the 19th century, the ruling elite set about developing Japan's industrial and military power, and methodically adopted much from the West. Japan's rapid rise led to a war with China 1894-95, Russia 1904-05, and the annexation of Korea in 1910. Japan appeared to be becoming a liberal democracy in the 1920s, but the Great Depression led to acute economic problems and military domination. Japanese military expansion in China after 1931 led to friction with Western powers and, faced with an oil blockade, Japan started the Pacific War.

The Allied ...

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Nothing similar may be found in foreign lands, wrote Kitabatake Chikafusa when he described Japan in his fourteenthcentury Jinno sh t ki (Chronicle of the Direct Descent of the Divine Sovereigns). Although Japan's culture developed late in Asian terms and was much influenced by China and later the West, its history, like its art and literature, is special among world civilizations. As some ...

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Area Handbook Series
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