Until recently, Japan was isolated from the outside world. In the 6th century, the country fell under the influence of its neighbour, China: it borrowed Buddhist religion and the Chinese system of imperial rule. But 200 years later, Chinese influence weakened, and the empire collapsed.
Until the 1870s, powerful aristocratic families and then the shoguns, the warlords ruled Japan on behalf of the emperor. In the XIII century, the Mongols tried unsuccessfully to conquer the country. The desire of Europeans to establish trade with Japan remained unanswered. But in the late 1860s, Japan itself turned its eyes to the West. For 50 years, it created a strong economy and restored the empire.
All of this was lost in World War II. However, Japan quickly recovered and became a rich country again. Elements of Western culture, high technology and the modern standard of living are naturally intertwined with ancient Eastern and religious traditions here. Most Japanese practice Buddhism and Shinto.
The Japanese islands are the tops of the underwater mountain range. Steep mountain slopes, unsuitable for farming or construction cover three-quarters of the country. There are 125 million people in Japan. Most of the population lives in valleys or on a narrow coastal plain.
Kyushu is the southernmost of the large Japanese islands. The highest peak of this mountainous island is Mount Aso. Kyushu is the most densely populated island, it is connected to the island of Honshu by a railway tunnel under the Shimonoseki Strait. The largest cities of the island: Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Kumamoto.
До 70-х годов XIX века Японией управляли от имени императора могущественные аристократические семьи, а затем сёгуны – военные предводители. В XIII веке страну безуспешно пытались покорить монголы. Желание европейцев наладить торговлю с Японией оставалось без ответа. Но в конце 1860-х годов Япония сама обратила свои взоры на Запад. За 50 лет она создала сильную экономику и восстановила империю.
Все это было потеряно во Второй мировой войне. Однако Япония быстро оправилась и снова стала богатой державой. Элементы западной культуры, высокие технологии и современный уровень жизни органично переплетаются здесь с древними восточными и религиозными традициями. Большинство японцев исповедуют буддизм и синтоизм.
... внешняя культурная политика Японии. Предметом исследования является реализация проекта «Cool Japan» в рамках внешней культурной политики Японии. Исследовательский Цель данной работы заключается в ... исследовании внешней культурной политики Японии на примере реализации ...
Цепь островов Рюкю простирается на 1120 км к югу от Японии по направлению к Тайваню. Самый большой из них – Окинава, площадью более 1165 кв. км, другие гораздо меньше. Основное население островов – крестьяне, которые выращивают рис, сахарный тростик и сладкий картофель (батат).
Токио; Tokyo — Топик по английскому языку
Тема по английскому языку: Токио
Топик по английскому языку: Токио (Tokyo).
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Токио – столица Японии и самый крупный город страны с населением около 8,3 миллиона жителей. Токио является одной из 47 префектур Японии. Он расположен в восточной части основного острова Хонсю и включает острова Изу и Огасавара. Именно в Токио заседает японское правительство и проживает императорская семья.
В Токио преобладает влажный субтропический климат с жарким летом и умеренными зимами. Из-за своего географического положения в Токио ежегодно случаются тайфуны, хотя и не очень сильные.
Токио – один из ведущих финансовых центров. В нем располагаются центры крупнейших в мире инвестиционных банков и страховых компаний. Токио также является центром транспортной, печатной и телевизионной индустрий. Общественный транспорт в Токио представлен обширной сетью чистых и экономичных поездов и метро.
Говоря о культуре, следует сказать, что в Токио имеются многочисленные парки, сады, театры и музеи. В парке Уэно находятся четыре национальных музея: Токийский национальный музей, самый большой в стране музей традиционного японского искусства, Национальный музей западного искусства, Токийский национальный музей современного искусства, содержащий коллекцию более чем 40000 японских и иностранных фильмов и Национальный музей науки. В Токио ежегодно проходят различные фестивали, такие как the Sanja at Asakusa Shrine и Kanda.
Последний, но не менее важный пункт, который стоит упомянуть – это архитектура Токио, на которую повлияла история города. Из-за землетрясения в 1923 и бомбовой атаки, которой подверглась столица во второй мировой войне, архитектура Токио представлена современными зданиями и малым количеством старых построек.
Топик по английскому языку: Токио
The capital of Japan
Tokyo is the capital of Japan and largest city of the country with a population of about 8.3 million inhabitants. It is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. It is situated on the eastern side of the main island Honshu and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo is the seat of the Japanese government and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family.
Tokyo is one of the leading finance centres. There are the headquarters of several of the world’s largest investment banks and insurance companies. Tokyo is also the centre of transportation, publishing and broadcasting industries. Public transportation in Tokyo is represented by an extensive network of clean and efficient trains and subways.
... «harbor wave» in Japanese. Сочинение про цунами на английском с переводом Цунами — большие и мощные ... цунами не может быть самой большой. Могут быть большие и более сильные волны. Слово «цунами» означает «волна гавани» на японском языке. Natural Disasters Сочинение на тему «Природные катастрофы» на английском языке с переводом на ... on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in ... Ocean such as Japan, Chile, and ...
Speaking about the culture, it should be said that there are numerous parks, gardens, theatres and museums in Tokyo. Four national museums are located in Ueno Park: Tokyo National Museum, which is the country’s largest museum of traditional Japanese art, the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, housing a collection of more than 40,000 Japanese and foreign films and the National Museum of Science. There are lots of different festivals taking place in Tokyo every year such as the Sanja at Asakusa Shrine and Kanda.
The last but not the least point that is worth mentioning is Tokyo’s architecture, which was influence by the city’s history. Due to the earthquake in 1923 and firebombing in World War 2, Tokyo’s current landscape is one of modern and contemporary architecture with very few old building.
Japan proper has four main islands, which are (from north to south) Hokkaido, Honshu (the largest island, where the capital and most major cities are located), Shikoku, and Kyushu. There are also many smaller islands stretched in an arc between the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea and the Pacific proper. Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu enclose the Inland Sea. The general features of the four main islands are shapely mountains, sometimes snowcapped, the highest and most famous of which is sacred Mt. Fuji; short rushing rivers; forested slopes; irregular and lovely lakes; and small, rich plains. Mountains, many of them volcanoes, cover two thirds of Japan’s surface, hampering transportation and limiting agriculture.
On the arable land, which is only 11% of Japan’s total land area, the population density is among the highest in the world. The climate ranges from chilly humid continental to humid subtropical. Rainfall is abundant, and typhoons and earthquakes are frequent. (For a more detailed description of geography, see separate articles on the individual islands.) Mineral resources are meager, except for coal, which is an important source of industrial energy. The rapid streams supply plentiful hydroelectric power. Imported oil, however, is the major source of energy. One third of Japan’s electricity comes from nuclear power. The rivers are generally unsuited for navigation (only two, the Ishikari and the Shinano, are over 200 mi/322 km long), and railroads and ships along the coast are the chief means of transportation. The Shinkansen «bullet train,» the second-fastest train system in the world after France’s TGV, was inaugurated in 1964 between Tokyo and Osaka and later extended.
Japan is an extremely homogeneous society with non-Japanese, mostly Koreans, making up less than 1% of the population. The Japanese people are primarily the descendants of various peoples who migrated from Asia in prehistoric times; the dominant strain is N Asian or Mongoloid, with some Malay and Indonesian admixture. One of the earliest groups, the Ainu, who still persist to some extent in Hokkaido, are physically somewhat similar to Caucasians.
Japan’s principal religions are Shinto and Buddhism; most Japanese adhere to both faiths. While the development of Shinto was radically altered by the influence of Buddhism, which was brought from China in the 6th cent., Japanese varieties of Buddhism also developed in sects such as Jodo, Shingon, and Nichiren. Numerous sects, called the «new religions,» formed after World War II and have attracted many members. One of these, the Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist sect, grew rapidly in the 1950s and 60s and became a strong social and political force. Less than 1% of the population are Christians. Confucianism has deeply affected Japanese thought and was part of the generally significant influence that Chinese culture wielded on the formation of Japanese civilization.
... она на него не сердится, только сострадает. Подробнее… Сочинение на тему моя родина узбекистан Р одина! Это слово содержит множество смыслов. Родина – это край, в котором мы рождены, выростаем ... его Отчизной. Возможно, поэтому самыми проникновенными строками в поэзии являются стихи о Родине. Наша Родина – Узбекистан, если взглянуть на карту мира, то она расположена в самом центре ...
The Japanese educational system, established during the Allied occupation after World War II, is one of the most comprehensive and effective in the world. The two leading national universities are at Tokyo and Kyoto. The standard of living improved dramatically from the 1950s on, and the Japanese have the highest per capita income of all Asians (excluding the citizens of the major oil producers).
Programs for social welfare and health insurance are fairly comprehensive. Since 1961, Japan has had a health-insurance system that covers all of its citizens. Major concerns confronting policy planners are the expected steady decline in the population during the 21st cent. (the population decreased for the first time in 2005) and the large and growing portion of the population that is elderly.
Japan’s farming population has been declining steadily and was about 6% of the total population in the 1990s; agriculture accounted for only 2% of the GNP. Arable land is intensively cultivated; farmers use irrigation, terracing, and multiple cropping to coax rich crops from the overworked soil. Rice and other cereals are the main crops; some vegetables and industrial crops, such as mulberry trees (for feeding silkworms), are also grown, and livestock is raised. Fishing is highly developed, and the annual catch is one of the largest in the world. The decision by many nations to extend economic zones 200 mi (322 km) offshore has forced Japan to concentrate on more efficiently exploiting its own coastal and inland waters.
In the late 19th cent. Japan was rapidly and thoroughly industrialized. Textiles were a leading item; vast quantities of light manufactures were also produced, and in the 1920s and 1930s heavy industries were greatly expanded, principally to support Japan’s growing imperialistic ambitions. Japan’s economy collapsed after the defeat in World War II, and its merchant marine, one of the world’s largest in the 1930s, was almost totally destroyed. In the late 1950s, however, the nation reemerged as a major industrial power. By the 1970s it had become the most industrialized country in Asia and the second greatest economic power in the world after the United States.
Government and Politics
Government in Japan is based on the constitution of 1947, drafted by the Allied occupation authorities and approved by the Japanese diet. It declares that the emperor is the «symbol of the state» but that sovereignty rests with the people. Hirohito was emperor from 1926 until his death in 1989; he was succeeded by his son, Akihito.
Japan’s national diet has sole legislative power. The diet is composed of the house of representatives, a body of 480 members elected for terms of four years, approximately three fifths of which are chosen by single-seat constituencies and the rest proportionally; and the house of councilors, having 252 members elected for terms of six years. Executive power is vested in a cabinet appointed and headed by the prime minister, who is elected by the diet and is usually the leader of the majority party in that body. A supreme court heads an independent judiciary.
... немногие. Мы дадим вам несколько очень полезных советов по написанию эссе или сочинения на английском, которые не раз пригодятся вам в жизни. Подготовка Это трудно, но — начните ... И да — Cossa тоже размещает нативную рекламу и делает спецпроекты. Если что — пишите нам на, обсудим. Как правильно писать эссе на английском языке Умение писать эссе предполагает довольно ...
Most political parties in Japan are small and do not have broad, mass memberships; their members are mainly professional politicians. Japan currently has more than 10,000 parties, most of them local and regional. The Liberal Democratic party (LDP) held the majority of seats in the diet from 1955, when the party was formed, to 1993, when an opposition coalition formed a government; however, it was back in power in 1996. Relatively conservative, the LDP has supported the alliance with the United States and the mutual security pacts between the two countries. The Social Democratic party (SDP, formerly the Socialist party), which has opposed the security treaties with the United States, was long the chief LDP rival; in 1994-99, however, the party formed a governing coalition with the LDP. Other significant parties tended to be somewhat fluid groupings in the 1990s; important ones currently include the Democratic party of Japan, which is now Japan’s largest opposition party, and New Komeito.
Japan is divided into 47 prefectures, each governed by a popularly elected governor and unicameral legislature. Cities, towns, and villages elect their own mayors and assemblies.
Early History to the Ashikaga Shoguns
Japan’s early history is lost in legend. The divine design of the empire—supposedly founded in 660 BC by the emperor Jimmu, a lineal descendant of the sun goddess and ancestor of the present emperor—was held as official dogma until 1945. Actually, reliable records date back only to about AD 400. In the first centuries of the Christian era the country was inhabited by numerous clans or tribal kingdoms ruled by priest-chiefs. Contacts with Korea were close, and bronze and iron implements were probably introduced by invaders from Korea around the 1st cent. By the 5th cent. the Yamato clan, whose original home was apparently in Kyushu, had settled in the vicinity of modern Kyoto and had established a loose control over the other clans of central and W Japan, laying the foundation of the Japanese state.
From the 6th to the 8th cent. the rapidly developing society gained much in the arts of civilization under the strong cultural influence of China, then flourishing in the splendor of the T’ang dynasty. Buddhism was introduced, and the Japanese upper classes assiduously studied Chinese language, literature, philosophy, art, science, and government, creating their own forms adapted from Chinese models. A partially successful attempt was made to set up a centralized, bureaucratic government like that of imperial China. The Yamato priest-chief assumed the dignity of an emperor, and an imposing capital city, modeled on the T’ang capital, was erected at Nara, to be succeeded by an equally imposing capital at Kyoto.
By the 9th cent., however, the powerful Fujiwara family had established a firm control over the imperial court. The Fujiwara influence and the power of the Buddhist priesthood undermined the authority of the imperial government. Provincial gentry—particularly the great clans who opposed the Fujiwara—evaded imperial taxes and grew strong. A feudal system developed. Civil warfare was almost continuous in the 12th cent.
... рыночную экономику со свободой частной собственности, а не командно-административную экономику с ее цепями. Устойчивость обществу придают или цепи, или собственность (Фазиль Искандер) Автор данного высказывания говорит ... формой устойчивости общества является собственность. Считаю, что Ф. Искандер имел в виду частную собственность. Потому что именно она способствует устойчивому развитию общества. Мы ...
In 1274 and again in 1281 the Mongols under Kublai Khan tried unsuccessfully to invade the country. In 1331 the emperor Daigo II attempted to restore imperial rule. He failed, but the revolt brought about the downfall of the Kamakura regime. The Ashikaga family took over the shogunate in 1338 and settled at Kyoto, but were unable to consolidate their power. The next 250 years were marked by civil wars, during which the feudal barons (the daimyo) and the Buddhist monasteries built up local domains and private armies. Nevertheless, in the midst of incessant wars there was a brisk development of manufacturing and trade, typified by the rise of Sakai (later Osaka) as a free city not subject to feudal control. This period saw the birth of a middle class. Extensive maritime commerce was carried on with the continent and with SE Asia; Japanese traders and pirates dominated East Asian waters until the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th cent.
The Tokugawa Shoguns and the Meiji Restoration
Tokugawa society was rigidly divided into the daimyo, samurai, peasants, artisans, and merchants, in that order. The system was imbued with Confucian ideas of loyalty to superiors, and military virtues were cultivated by the ruling aristocracy. Oppression of the peasants led to many sporadic uprisings. Yet despite feudal restrictions, production and trade expanded, the use of money and credit increased, flourishing cities grew up, and the rising merchant class acquired great wealth and economic power. Japan was in fact moving toward a capitalist system.
Industrial and Military Expansion
Although the Meiji restoration was originally inspired by antiforeign sentiment, Japan’s new rulers quickly realized the impossibility of expelling the foreigners. Instead they strove to strengthen Japan by adopting the techniques of Western civilization. Under the leadership of an exceptionally able group of statesmen (who were chiefly samurai of the western clans) Japan was rapidly transformed into a modern industrial state and a great military power.
Feudalism was abolished in 1871. The defeat of the Satsuma rebellion in 1877 marked the end of opposition to the new regime. Emissaries were sent abroad to study Western military science, industrial technology, and political institutions. The administration was reorganized on Western lines. An efficient modern army and navy were created, and military conscription was introduced. Industrial development was actively fostered by the state, working in close cooperation with the great merchant houses. A new currency and banking system were established. New law codes were enacted. Primary education was made compulsory.
In 1889 the emperor granted a constitution, modeled in part on that of Prussia. Supreme authority was vested in the emperor, who in practice was largely a figurehead controlled by the clan oligarchy. Subordinate organs of government included a privy council, a cabinet, and a diet consisting of a partially elected house of peers and a fully elected house of representatives. Universal manhood suffrage was not granted until 1925.
... того, чтобы моя мечта исполнилась. Зарипов Фирзар Фаритович, ученик 10 класса Почему я хочу стать военным? Я определился с будущей профессией. Твёрдо решил стать военным, защитником ... в полной мере соответствуют избранной профессиональной деятельности. Сочинение на тему «Моя профессия -Родине служить» Сочинение на тему «Моя профессия -Родине служить» Моя профессия – Родине служить. Я это точно знаю. ...
The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) marked the real emergence of imperial Japan, with acquisition of Taiwan and the Pescadores and also of the Liao-tung peninsula in Manchuria, which the great powers forced it to relinquish. An alliance with Great Britain in 1902 increased Japanese prestige, which reached a peak as a result of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-5. Unexpectedly the Japanese smashed the might of Russia with speed and efficiency. The treaty of Portsmouth (see Portsmouth, Treaty of ), ending the war, recognized Japan as a world power. A territorial foothold had been gained in Manchuria. In 1910, Japan was able to officially annex Korea, which they had controlled de facto since 1905. During World War I the Japanese secured the German interests in Shandong (later restored to China) and received the German-owned islands in the Pacific as mandates. In 1915, Japan presented the Twenty-one Demands designed to reduce China to a protectorate. The other world powers opposed those items that would have given Japan policy control in Chinese affairs, but China accepted the rest of the demands.
In 1918, Japan took the lead in Allied military intervention in Siberia, and Japanese troops remained there until 1922. These moves, together with an intensive program of naval armament, led to some friction with the United States, which was temporarily adjusted by the Washington Conference of 1921-22.
During the next decade the expansionist drive abated in Japan, and liberal and democratic forces gained ground. The power of the diet increased, party cabinets were formed, and despite police repression, labor and peasant unions attained some strength. Liberal and radical ideas became popular among students and intellectuals. Politics was dominated by big business, and businessmen were more interested in economic than in military expansion. Trade and industry, stimulated by World War I, continued to expand, though interrupted by the earthquake of 1923, which destroyed much of Tokyo and Yokohama. Agriculture, in contrast, remained depressed. Japan pursued a moderate policy toward China, relying chiefly on economic penetration and diplomacy to advance Japanese interests.
Militarism and War
The moderate stance regarding China as well as other foreign policies pursued by the government displeased more extreme militarist and nationalist elements developing in Japan, some of whom disliked capitalism and advocated state socialism. Chief among these groups were the Kwantung army in Manchuria, young army and navy officers, and various organizations such as the Amur River Society, which included many prominent men. Militarist propaganda was aided by the depression of 1929, which ruined Japan’s silk trade. In 1931 the Kwantung army precipitated an incident at Shenyang (Mukden) and promptly overran all of Manchuria, which was detached from China and set up as the puppet state of Manchukuo. When the League of Nations criticized Japan’s action, Japan withdrew from the organization.
... in the USA: the Republican and the Democratic. Сочинение про сша на английском с переводом The United States of America, or the USA, is one of ... of the world due to its economic, political and military influence. США сочинение на английском с переводом США являются четвертой по величине страной в ... hide the city’s monuments from view. The federal government and tourism are the mainstays of the city’s ...
Meanwhile relations with the Soviet Union were tense and worsened after Japan and Germany joined together against the Soviet Union in the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1936. In 1938 and 1939 armed clashes took place on the Manchurian border. Japan then stepped up an armament program, extended state control over industry through the National Mobilization Act (1938), and intensified police repression of dissident elements. In 1940 all political parties were dissolved and were replaced by the state-sponsored Imperial Rule Assistance Association.
Unable to neutralize U.S. opposition to its actions in SE Asia, Japan opened hostilities against the United States and Great Britain on Dec. 7, 1941, by striking at Pearl Harbor, Singapore, and other Pacific possessions. The fortunes of war at first ran in favor of Japan, and by the end of 1942 the spread of Japanese military might over the Pacific to the doors of India and of Alaska was prodigious. Then the tide turned; territory was lost to the Allies island by island; warfare reached Japan itself with intensive bombing; and finally in 1945, following the explosion of atomic bombs by the United States over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, the formal surrender being on the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Harbor on Sept. 2, 1945.
Surrender and Occupation
The occupation force controlled Japan through the existing machinery of Japanese government. A new constitution was adopted in 1946 and went into effect in 1947; the emperor publicly disclaimed his divinity. The general conservative trend in politics was tempered by the elections of 1947, which made the Social Democratic party headed by Tetsu Katayama the dominant force in a two-party coalition government. In 1948 the Social Democrats slipped to a secondary position in the coalition, and in 1949 they lost power completely when the conservatives took full charge under Shigeru Yoshida.
Many of the militarist leaders and generals were tried as war criminals and in 1948 many were convicted and executed, and an attempt was made to break up the zaibatsu. Economic revival proceeded slowly with much unemployment and a low level of production, which improved only gradually. In 1949, however, MacArthur loosened the bonds of military government, and many responsibilities were restored to local authorities. At San Francisco in Sept., 1951, a peace treaty was signed between Japan and most of its opponents in World War II. India and Burma (Myanmar) refused to attend the conference, and the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Poland refused to sign the treaty. It nevertheless went into effect on Apr. 28, 1952, and Japan again assumed full sovereignty.
In the 1950s Japan signed peace treaties with Taiwan, India, Burma (Myanmar), the Philippines, and Indonesia. Reparations agreements were concluded with Burma (Myanmar), the Philippines, Indonesia, and South Vietnam, with reparations to be paid in the form of goods and services to stimulate Asian economic development. In 1951, Japan signed a security treaty with the United States, providing for U.S. defense of Japan against external attack and allowing the United States to station troops in the country. New security treaties with the United States were negotiated in 1960 and 1970. Many Japanese felt that military ties with the United States would draw them into another war. Student groups and labor unions, often led by Communists, demonstrated during the 1950s and 1960s against military alliances and nuclear testing.
... яркий пример правоконсервативной альтернативы воззрениям неоконсерваторов. Структура работы: 1. Развитие политической культуры США политическая культура национальный штат Образование и развитие политической культуры оказали прямое воздействие на формирование национального менталитета и специфику ...
Opposition to the government because of its U.S. ties abated somewhat in the early 1970s when the United States agreed to relinquish its control of the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, which had come under U.S. administration after World War II. All of the Ryukyus formally reverted to Japanese control in 1972. In that same year, Sato resigned and was succeeded by Kakuei Tanaka, also a Liberal Democrat. For his efforts in opposing the development of nuclear weapons in Japan, Sato was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974. Later that year, Tanaka resigned and was replaced as prime minister by Takeo Miki, another Liberal Democrat. Miki, who became embroiled in a scandal over his personal finances, was replaced by Takeo Fukuda. Though Fukuda was considered to be an expert in economic policy, he had difficulty in combating the economic downturn of the late 1970s. He was replaced by Masayoshi Ohira, who died in office in 1980 and was replaced by Zenko Suzuki.
During 1995, Japan was shaken by two major disasters. The worst earthquake in Japan in more than 70 years struck the Kobe region on Jan. 17, killing more than 6,000 people. On Mar. 20, lethal nerve gas was released through plastic bags left in the Tokyo subway system by members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious group; 12 people were killed, and about 5,000 others suffered ill effects.
Despite that mandate and his initial popularity, Koizumi had difficulty passing more than superficial economic reforms, as powerful and entrenched bureaucratic and LDP interests resisted change. The stagnant economy, hindered by a domestic deflationary spiral that began in the early 1990s and by contraction overseas, experienced its fourth recession in 10 years in 2001. In November unemployment reached 5.5%, a postwar high. In part because of already high levels of government debt, Koizumi’s government adopted a 2002 budget that reduced expenditures, instead of increasing spending to stimulate the economy. The economy improved beginning in 2002, but the government continued to fail to make any significant economic reforms. Also in 2002, Koizumi made a landmark visit to North Korea, which led to an agreement to establish diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea.
Elections in 2003 resulted in large gains for the opposition Democratic party, but the LDP-led coalition retained a significant majority in parliament. Following the election, the New Conservatives merged with the LDP. The LDP and New Komeito party largely held onto their majority in the July, 2004, upper house elections, but the opposition Democratic party made solid gains at the expense of smaller parties.
In 2005, Koizumi sought to win passage of a plan to privatize Japan Post, which includes Japan’s largest savings and insurance systems in addition to the postal system, but failed to win support for it in the upper house when a sizable number of LDP members voted against it. Calling a snap lower-house election, Koizumi gained (Sept., 2005) a huge victory in which the LDP took 60% of the seats, and the following month secured passage of legislation to privatize Japan Post over the decade beginning in 2007.
Postwar International Relations
As the world’s second largest economy, Japan has struggled to define its international role. Its postwar foreign policy was aimed at the maintenance and expansion of foreign markets, and the United States became its chief ally and trade partner. In the early 1970s, however, U.S.-Japanese relations became strained after the United States pressured Japan to revalue the yen, and again when it began talks with Communist China without prior consultation with Japan. Partly in response, the Tanaka government established (1972) diplomatic relations with Communist China and announced plans for negotiation of a peace treaty. Relations also became strained with South Korea and Taiwan. Japan did not sign a peace treaty with the USSR because of a dispute over territory in the Kuril Islands formerly held by Japan but occupied by the USSR after the war. The two countries did, however, sign (1956) a peace declaration and establish fishing and trading agreements.
Beginning in late 1973, when Arab nations initiated a cutback in oil exports, Japan faced a grave economic situation that threatened to reduce power and industrial production. In addition, a high annual inflation rate (19% in 1973), a price freeze, and the instability of the yen on the international money markets slowed Japan’s economy; in the late 1970s, however, the continued growth of foreign markets brought Japan out of its slump.
In the 1980s many Japanese firms invested heavily in other countries, and Japan had a surplus with virtually every nation with which it traded. The high level of government involvement in banking and industry led many other countries to accuse Japan of protectionism. The United States in particular sought to reduce its huge trade deficit with Japan. Japan also had to deal with growing economic competition within its own region from such countries as South Korea, Taiwan, and (beginning in the 1990s) China. Japan’s emphasis on exports also caused it to neglect its domestic markets.
In addition to these economic pressures, great political pressure was put on Japan to assume a larger role in world affairs. Although its constitution forbids the maintenance of armed forces, Japan has a sizable military capability for defensive warfare. The United States has increasingly pressed Japan to assume a larger share of responsibility for the defense of its region. The first Persian Gulf War caused great dissension in Japan. The government, which felt tremendous pressure to contribute to the UN effort in accordance with its economic power, also had to address the decidedly antimilitaristic bias of the Japanese people. By 2003, however, concern over North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles and over China’s growing power led to the removal of some legal restrictions on the government’s ability to respond militarily to an attack, and the Liberal Democrats proposed amending the constitution’s limits on its defense forces. Late in 2004 relations with North Korea became especially strained when Japan suspended food aid to it after the remains it returned to Japan of a woman who had been kidnapped by Korea turned out to be not hers.