Today, Japan is a modern major economic power with a greater territorial claim on Earth than most other nations. It is heavily populated and maintains strong industry, and has once again begun to take a position as a technological leader. Using developing deep ocean mining techniques, the nation can draw all the resources it needs, both mineral and agricultural This ability has given Japan such a level of independence that it has little need to maintain interstellar colonies. Even though it is not one of the six major spacefaring nations, Japan does possess three successful colonies and one outpost. Still, the nation maintains something of an isolationist nature, and its people have strong ties to their homeland and their homeworld.
An island nation with nearly the population of America, Japan has one of the densest populations on the globe in the 24th century.
- Population: 186,312,000 (98% urban, 2% rural)
- Literacy: 100%
- College Education: 90%
- Life Expectancy: 95.7 male, 98.4 female
- Largest Cities: Tokyo (14,096,000), Yokohama (11,144,000), Osaka (10,728,000)
The strength of the Japanese economy is based upon the nation’s ultramodern technology and ultratraditional work ethic.
- Industrial Capacity: 16 Rudell Units
- Agricultural Output: 95%, net importer of animal products, net exporter of marine food
- Mineral Production. 100%, net exporter of oil
- Power Production: 110% (5% solar, 37% atomic, 58% mineral), net exporter of power
- Principal Trading Partners: America, France, Brazil
History Since Twilight
The island nation of Japan was one of the few major 20th-century industrial powers to come through Twilight without any direct damage to its infrastructure, and it fared well in the pandemics due to having a medical establishment to help care for the sick. Being an industrial exporter and the center of much international trade and banking, the nation was faced with economic upheaval when Twilight tore up its trading partners, but through the will of its people it survived and, with its extensive ocean transportation capacity, dominated international trade for decades to follow.
Japan is a resource-poor nation which has relied on trade to meet a major portion of the country’s needs. During the past few centuries, a majority of this trade has been with the emerging nations of South America. But even so, in order to ensure the availability of resources well into the future, Japan has placed a high priority upon the use of its technological expertise in the development of new sources of agricultural and mineral products. To meet its needs, the nation turned to the one nearby source that it could easily control-the ocean. As the, primary power in its region, both economically and militarily, the nation expanded its territorial boundaries to allow unhindered access to those ocean resources.
Japan is a nation of islands whose appearance is essentially unchanged from its 20th-century outlines. The primary differences occurred in the 21st century when Japan took back control of the Sakhalin island, known to the Japanese as Karahuto. With America tied up in its second civil war, Japan also took custody of the American South Pacific territories, including Guam and Midway. The Philippines were also annexed later on in the century, following heavy economic investment and the building up of industry there.
The total land area controlled by Japan is still relatively small, with much of it being too mountainous or too otherwise inhospitable to be of any great value In fact, only about 15 percent of the nation’s total land area is arable, and agriculture is very critical to the nation of 150 million people.
Mountainous terrain, 250 volcanoes-a number of which are still active-and seasonal typhoons all serve to keep the populace confined mostly to the eastern coasts of the main islands. There lie the great cities of Japan, including Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka The largest of these is the nation’s former capital, Tokyo, with a population of more than 14 million. This makes it not only the largest city in Japan but one of the largest in the world.
To the south of the main islands are Japan’s newer territories, which include such groups of islands as the Marianas, the Gilberts, the Carolines, and the Marshalls. In the vicinity of the Gilberts is the city of Kaitel, which is the largest single underwater habitat in the world, with a population of approximately 500,000. The city serves as the center of an enormous oceanfarming region which has filled the county’s agricultural deficit and has actually turned Japan into something of an agricultural exporter The city is also the center of Japan’s profitable deep ocean mining industry.
Japan has been a major world trade center since before Twilight. After Twilight, the county’s shipping network formed the backbone of international trade for decades. Though its economic strength has fluctuated somewhat over the past 300 years, Japan has always maintained its status as a trade leader. Today, Tokyo possesses the world’s single largest international stock exchange and is considered by many to be the world’s financial capital. With Japan’s powerful economic position, the yen has become one of the strongest international currencies, second only to the French livre, which is still dominant.
The Japanese banking industry is a major economic force in itself, making numerous worldwide investments, helping to stimulate national economies while providing security for its own economy. Finances from Japanese banks have supported numerous colonization and scientific projects. The Niyazawa International Bank was a major funding source for the stutterwarp tug project pioneered by William Stanton and maintains a strong foothold in America’s Trilon Corporation. In fact, it is difficult to find a successful international corporation that does not receive some backing from Japanese banks. This is not always apparent, as the Japanese investors handle their transactions with subtlety and effectiveness, seldom flaunting their strengths and intentions.
Japan’s economy is generally classed as post-industrial, meaning that a lot of Japan’s businesses are based on service industries, the strongest of which are general information processing and banking, with many other industries revolving around the success of these two. Even so, Japan maintains strong mining, ship building and design industries, as well as high-tech electronics and electromechanical development and production.
From the late 20th centuy, Japan’s robotics industry went unmatched until the French began placing a heavier emphasis on this field in the early 2200s. By that time, however, Japan had already developed walker technology and sold design rights to Bavaria in the mid-2250s, leading to the development of the Kz VII combat walker. Japan has a number of its own walker designs, including combat walkers. Industrial designs are exported only in small quantity due to their expense. Military designs are used only by Japan’s armed forces and are not exported In fact, until recently, they were not even used off-planet.
Japan’s government remains much as it was prior to Twilight. It is still essentially a constitutional monarchy, but the emperor has made a slight resurgence in power and prestige. Shortly after the war, the capital was moved back to the city of Kyoto, where it sat prior to the Meiji restoration This was done as a symbol of a return to old traditions, away from the failed Western civilization. At this time, Japan took a controversial rearmament stance, as she could no longer count on the once mighty umbrella of the American military.
Some Japanese citizens feared that this rearmament would be perceived as a threat by other nations, bringing their retribution. Even so, the rearmament took place, and for several decades Japan possessed one of the strongest military forces in the world. Japan’s military remained on par for industrial nations through the 23rd century and saw action against Manchuria at the request of the French during the Central Asian War. Today, the nation’s military forces include a small fleet of starships which are currently deployed in the French Arm in order to protect Japan’s colonies against the invading Kafers. This force has already seen action against the Kafers at Kimanjano and 61 Ursae Majoris. While the former action resulted in serious damage to the Japanese fleet, the latter was a combined effort with German forces resulting in the destruction of a Kafer Delta-class battleship. As a move to better protect her colonies, Japan has mobilized her imperial marines and has begun sending them, along with their sophisticated hardware, to the threatened worlds
The 24th-centuy government of Japan leans toward a slightly isolationistic approach to international and interstellar politics. While the economy is kept strong and the county maintains numerous worldwide investments, foreign cultural influence is regulated, and it is often difficult for outsiders to even visit the county, let alone live there.
Japanese society is a mixture of old and new. While modernization and change continue, the people maintain extremely strong ties to traditionalism. This tendency is as strong today as it has ever been in industrialized Japan. In fact, much of the country’s cultural isolationism is the result of Twilight’s demonstration of the failure of Western society. The Japanese do not look down on Westerners but rather view them with respect as fallen giants.
Modern Japanese culture places a great emphasis on the “old ways,” resulting in the stronger reemergence of Buddhism and even more so of Shintoism. The latter’s close ties to nature become more specifically defined as close ties to Earth. This attachment to humankind’s homeworld has kept Japan from greater colonization efforts than it might have made. On colony worlds, numerous shrines dot inhabited regions, with each shrine containing numerous plants or objects taken from Earth. However, attitudes have been changing, and many Japanese, especially colonists, have begun to expand the scope of their views on nature to include extraterrestrial nature, though even more traditionalists hold to the older beliefs.