Japan is a parliamentary monarchy in East Asia, with the ten million metropolis Tokyo as its capital. Volcanic mountains define the face of the four large islands Honshū , Hokkaidō , Kyūshū and Shikoku as well as numerous smaller islands and divide the island state into small, densely populated valley and basin landscapes. The climate is temperate in the north, subtropical in the south with high levels of summer rainfall. Typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions make the country vulnerable to natural disasters. The population is very uniform because there was comparatively little immigration due to the isolation from foreign influences. The number of indigenous people, the Ainu , now includes only a few thousand. The predominant religions are Shinto and Buddhism. The island situation and the long-standing isolation from abroad have led to specific forms of expression in art and literature, in architecture and handicrafts in Japanese cultural life. From an absolute monarchy with the Tennō (emperor) at its head, Japan developed into a feudal state with the shoguns (military commanders in chief) as the actual rulers. In 1941, the country entered World War II alongside Germany and Italy and, after the atomic bombing in 1945, had to hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki capitulate. After the Second World War, Japan gave up its policy of isolation and in 1947 received a democratic constitution that was heavily influenced by the USA. Japan is the third largest economy in the world after the USA and China and belongs to the G7 countries (world economic summit). The economy is characterized by export-oriented industrial companies in the high-tech sectors (motor vehicles, electronics) and an important financial sector. The most important foreign policy alliance partner is the USA. Unresolved territorial disputes with China, Russia and South Korea are causing conflict in the region.
There is general compulsory schooling from 6 to 15 years of age and with the kindergarten a pre-school offer open to all children from the age of three (not compulsory). The current integrated school system with a six-year elementary school, three-year middle school and three-year high school was introduced in 1947. Until the end of middle school, there is no tuition fee and teaching material in all public schools. About 96% of all Japanese in a given year go to high school. All schools are all-day schools. With regard to the subject canon and the lesson table, the Ministry of Education provides central guidelines, the implementation of which is the responsibility of the local school authorities (prefectures, municipalities). The higher education system comprises around 780 mostly private universities (study duration up to a Bachelor of 4 years), almost 400 FH (junior colleges; Study time: 2-3 years) and 57 technical colleges (study time: 5 years). Admission to a university takes place on the basis of a passed entrance examination, which the secondary school diploma entitles to take part. According to toppharmacyschools, the level of difficulty of the entrance exam varies depending on the reputation of the educational institution. – The education system as a whole is characterized by strong performance competition. The aim is to secure admission to a renowned university after compulsory schooling through access to a high-performance secondary school. To achieve this goal, more than 55% of middle school students take additional private remedial tuition.
Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are guaranteed and respected, but the possibilities for obtaining information are partially limited. Criticism of the government and the imperial family is not common.
Press: Japan is a heavily media-oriented company with one of the world’s largest markets for newspapers. About 80% of the Japanese read the newspaper every day, mostly by subscription. Among the around 100 major daily newspapers are “Yomiuri Shimbun” (founded 1874), “Asahi Shimbun” (founded 1879, with International Herald Tribune), “Mainichi Shimbun” (founded 1872), “Sankei Shimbun” (founded 1933) and the business newspaper “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” (founded 1876) the highest editions. Like the big regional newspapers, e.g. B. “Chunichi Shimbun”, “Tōkyō Shimbun” and “Hokkaidō Shimbun”, they each appear with a morning and evening edition. “The Japan Times” and “The Nikkei Weekly” are in English. Sports newspapers are also popular.
News agencies: Kyōdo Tsūshinsha (Kyodo, founded in 1945, cooperative), Jiji Tsūshinsha (JP, founded in 1945, private).
Broadcast: The public service, fee-financed Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK, founded 1925, television operation since 1953) with more than 50 regional and local stations broadcasts three national radio programs and the international »Radio Japan« in around 20 languages. The radio sector covers around 300 other commercial radio stations. NHK also operates two terrestrial television stations (“General TV”, “Educational TV”) and two satellite channels (“BS 1”, “BS Premium”) as well as the English language “NHK World TV”. There are also five commercial networks: “Nihon TV” (NTV), “Tokyo Broadcasting System” (TBS), “TV Tokyo”, “Fuji TV” and “TV Asahi”. These media groups also include the largest Japanese daily newspapers. There are also more than 120 other local and regional television stations. Satellite and cable television are widespread.