- Official Name: Japan
- Official Languages: Japanese
- Population: 125,410,000
- Currency: Yen
- Japan is an island country in East Asia, spanning an archipelago of 6852 islands covering 145,937 sq mi. Five main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Okinawa
- Japan is roughly the size of Montana
- Capital: Tokyo
- Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
- Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies, the second longest in the world, at 84 years.
- The name for Japan in Japanese, 日本, is pronounced Nippon or Nihon. The name Japan is based on the Chinese pronunciation and was introduced to European languages through early trade in the 16th century.
- 69% Shinto (indigenous religion), 66% Buddhism (many Japanese follow both Shintoism and Buddhism), 1.5% Christian, 6.2% other.
- Japan is very homogenous, with 123.2m of the 125.7m population being Japanese nationals. Ethnic minority groups in Japan include indigenous Ainu and Ryukyuan peoples, Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, Brazilians of Japanese descent and Peruvians of Japanese descent.
- Japan’s population is rapidly aging, and a growing number of younger Japanese are not marrying or remain childless. These demographic changes have created social issues, especially a decline in workforce population and increase in the cost of social security benefits.
- English instruction is now mandatory in elementary schools.
- The Japanese take punctuality seriously, so it is important to arrive on time. If you are late, be sure to make an apology for your tardiness.
- The cultural preoccupation with saving face and being polite means that the Japanese may wish to avoid giving a flat “no” or negative response—even when they don’t agree with you. Therefore, focus on hints of hesitation.
- Ishin-denshin (以心伝心) is a Japanese idiom which denotes a form of interpersonal communication through unspoken mutual understanding. It roughly translates to ‘what the mind thinks, the heart transmits.’ The emphasis on nonverbal communication is traditionally perceived by the Japanese as sincere, silent communication via the heart or belly (i.e. symbolically from the inside, uchi), as distinct from overt communication via the face and mouth (the outside, soto), which is seen as being more susceptible to insincerities.
Economy & Doing Business:
- Bowing is extremely important: although children normally begin learning how to bow at a very young age, companies commonly train their employees precisely how they are to bow.
- Always present a Japanese business card holding it with both hands, Japanese-language side facing forward.
- Japan enacted a new immigration policy in 2019 to help reduce labor shortages in certain sectors. This scheme includes a path to permanent residency and aims to bring over 345,000 migrants to Japan by 2024.
- Japan is the world’s second largest developed economy, third largest economy by nominal GDP and fourth largest by purchasing power parity.