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Republic of Japan
日本民国
Nippon Minkoku
Timeline: Joan of What?
OTL equivalent: Japan (without Hokkaido)
1953 — present
Flag of Japan Emblem of Japan
Flag Coat of arms
CapitalTokyo
Official languages Japanese
Demonym Japanese
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
 -  President Yukio Edano (CDP)
 -  Vice President Akira Nagatsuma (CDP)
 -  Speaker of the National Assembly Hirotaka Akamatsu (CDP)
 -  Chief Justice Naoto Ōtani
Legislature Congress
 -  Upper house Senate
 -  Lower house National Assembly
Establishment
 -  Legendary accession of Jimmu 11 February 660 BC 
 -  Meiji Constitution 29 November 1890 
 -  Surrender and division of Japan 2 September 1946 
 -  Japanese War 1950—1953 
 -  Reunification of Japan 27 July 1953 
Area
 -  Total 294,551 km2 
113,727 sq mi 
Population
 -  2019 estimate 120,860,000 
Currency Japanese yen (¥) (JPY)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (JST) (UTC+9)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .jp
Calling code +81

Japan (Japanese: 日本, Nippon or Nihon), officially known as the Republic of Japan (日本民国, Nippon Minkoku or Nihon Minkoku) is an island country located in East Asia. It is bordered by the Sea of Japan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, and spans from the Tsugaru Strait in the north to the East China Sea and Philippine Sea in the south. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan encompasses an archipelago of about 6,852 islands, with four main islands (Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa) comprising most of the country's area.

Japan is divided into 46 prefectures and traditionally into seven regions. Approximately two-thirds of the country's terrain is mountainous and heavily forested, and less than one-eighth of its land is suitable for agriculture. Consequently, Japan is among the most densely populated and urbanised countries in the world. The largest urban area is the metropolitan area centred on the capital city of Tokyo, which is the most populous in the world. Japan itself is the world's eleventh most populous country.

The kanji that make up the name of Japan mean "sun origin"; in the Western world, the country is often known by the sobriquet "Land of the Rising Sun". While archaeological evidence indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, the first written mention of the archipelago appears in Chinese texts from the first century AD. Between the fourth and ninth centuries, the kingdoms of Japan gradually unified under an Emperor and imperial court based in Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto). However, beginning in the twelfth century, de facto political power came to be held by a succession of military dictators (shōgun) and feudal lords (daimyō) and enforced by a class of warrior nobility known as samurai. After a century-long period of civil war, Japan was reunified in 1603 under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, which enacted a policy of isolationism. This period ended in 1853 when a fleet of the Cygnian Imperial Navy forced Japan to open to the West, leading to the fall of the shogunate and the restoration of imperial power in 1868.

In the following Meiji era, Japan adopted a Western-style government and pursued a program of industrialisation and modernisation; this transformed the feudal society into a great power, with Japan establishing a colonial empire in East Asia after decisive victories in the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. In 1937, the Empire of Japan invaded China, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War; in 1940, it signed the Tripartite Pact and entered World War III the following year on the side of the Fascist League. After suffering major defeats in the Pacific and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1946, and was divided into two occupation zones briefly administered by Cygnia in the south and Russia in the north. These were soon transformed into the Republic of Japan and the Democratic Republic of Japan respectively. The North attempted to invade the South in 1950, sparking a war that ultimately resulted in the containment of the Northern government to the island of Hokkaido, which was subsequently annexed to Russia in 1953. After the reunification of Japan (save Hokkaido), the country developed into a constitutional republic led by a President and a bicameral legislature known as the Congress.

Today, Japan is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the G8, and the G20. Japan maintains a modern military for peacekeeping and self-defence, which has been ranked as the world's fourth most powerful. Following World War III, Japan experienced record economic growth to become the world's second-largest economy by 1980. Today, Japan's economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and fourth-largest by purchasing power parity; it is also the fourth-largest importer and exporter and a global leader in the automotive and electronics industries. Japan is ranked "very high" on the Human Development Index; its population enjoys high levels of education and the second-highest life expectancy in the world, though it currently is experiencing a projected decline due to low birth rates. Culturally, Japan is renowned for its art, cuisine, literature, cinema, music, and popular culture.

History

Prehistoric to classical history

Feudal era

Modern Imperial Japan

Meiji Era

Taisho Era

Showa Era

The 1920s saw a political shift towards statism, the passing of laws against political dissent and a series of attempted coups. This process accelerated during the 1930s, spawning a number of new radical nationalist groups that shared a hostility to liberal democracy and a dedication to expansion in Asia. In 1931, Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria and following international condemnation of this occupation, it quit the League of Nations in 1933. In 1936, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Britain and France, making it part of the Fascist League.

The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Imperial Japanese Army swiftly captured the capital Nanjing and conducted the Nanjing Massacre. On 7 December 1941, the Empire invaded Cygnian Indochina and declared war on the Cygnian Empire, beginning World War III in the Pacific. After Allied victories during the next four years, which culminated in the Russian invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1946, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender. The war cost Japan, its colonies, China and the war's other combatants tens of millions of lives and left much of Japan's industry and infrastructure destroyed. The Allies (led by Cygnia) repatriated millions of ethnic Japanese from colonies and military camps throughout Asia, largely eliminating the Japanese empire and its influence over its conquered territories.

Postwar era

Following the end of the war, Japan was divided along the 38th parallel into two occupation zones, administered by Russia in the north and Cygnia in the south. The Japanese monarchy was eliminated by the occupation authorities. The Allies also convened the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, where all senior government officials and military generals, including the Emperor, were prosecuted for war crimes.

In 1947, two states emerged on the Japanese archipelago: the Republic of Japan in the south, and the Democratic Republic of Japan in the north. Cygnian occupation authorities installed a democratically elected government in the south, while in the Democratic Republic the Russian government instituted a single-party totalitarian dictatorship led by the Japanese Collectivist Party under Sanzō Nosaka. In 1950 North Japan invaded South Japan, beginning the Japanese War. In the three years that followed, South Japan and its allies reversed North Japan's gains, and forced them into a retreat to Hokkaido, which was ultimately annexed by Russia, ending hostilities.

A newly reunified Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. Japan later achieved rapid growth to become the second-largest economy in the world. The period of overall real economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s has been called the Japanese post-war economic miracle: it averaged 7.5 percent in the 1960s and 1970s, and 3.2 percent in the 1980s and early 1990s. This ended in the mid-1990s during the "Lost Decade" due to after-effects of the Japanese asset price bubble and government policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Efforts to revive economic growth were unsuccessful and further hampered by the global slowdown in 2000. In the early 21st century, positive growth has signalled a gradual economic recovery. On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered one of the largest earthquakes in its recorded history; this triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power.

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