Critical Thinking

Capital The Pacific Ring of Fire has more

Capital City:
Tokyo population: 13 million (city), 32.5 million people (metro area)

Tokyo Metropolitan
Area is the largest in the world with the second highest being in Seoul, South
Korea, with a population of 20.5 million people.

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The Largest
Japanese Cities: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, Sapporo, Kyoto, Saitama, Fukuoka,
Hiroshima, and Sendai

Population: 127.3
million 11th largest population country in the world (2016).

Area: 377,864 sq.
km (145,894 sq. miles), 61st largest country by total land area.

Main languages:
Japanese, English (taught in high schools)

Main religions
Shintoism, Taoism, Buddhism

Major Ethnic
groups: Japanese (approximately 98% of population), Korean (0.5%), Chinese
(0.4%), Other (1.1%)

Life expectancy at
birth: 80 years (men), 87 years (women) 83 years(average) Highest in the world

Currency: Japanese
Yen (?¥)

UNDP Human
Development Index (HDI): 0.891 (2015, 20th in the world)

GDP per capita
(International $, PPP): $36, 680 (2016 Worldbank)

Literacy Rate, age
15 and over can read and write: 99%

Unemployment rate:

Male: 8.7%

Female: 7.1% (2012
Rank in comparison to the world, 123)

 

Geographically,
Japan is an archipelago that consists of over 6,750 islands and volcanoes
located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Pacific Ring of Fire has more than 70%
of the world’s active volcanoes located on it and causes 90 percent of the
world’s earthquakes due to the immense amount of pressure created from the
tectonic plates. Japan consists of four main islands, Honshu, Kyushu, Hokkaido,
Shikoku, and make up 97 percent of the nation’s total land area.

 

Closing thoughts:
Japan is one of the most beautiful and geographically diverse nations in the
world with tropical jungles located in the southern parts of Kyushu and snowy mountain
plateaus in North of Hokkaido featuring a Palace of ice in Sapporo. It boasts a
99% literacy rate between male and female, low unemployment rate, and a great
opportunity for international trade.

 

Political
Environment

  

 The Japanese government is a constitutional
monarchy that is divided into three branches; the Legislative, the Executive,
and the Judicial. Their legal system is modeled after the European civil law
systems and has English-American influence, judicial review of legislative acts
in the Supreme Court, and they accept compulsory International Court of Justice
(ICJ) jurisdiction with reservations.

 

    In the Executive branch, the chief of state
is Emperor Akihito. The cabinet is appointed by the prime minster, which is
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is the head of government. The judicial branch
has a Supreme court and the chief justice is appointed by the monarch and all
other justices are appointed by the cabinet.

 

 Main Political Parties- The Liberal Democratic
Party of Japan (LDP): Centre-right, heads the ruling coalition.

– Democratic Party
of Japan (DPJ): centrist, major opposition party.

– Japan
Restoration Party (JRP): right-wing, third largest force, but is slowly losing
representation.

– Komeito (NK): Centre-right,
in coalition with the LDP.

– Japanese
Communist Party (JCP): left-wing, more than doubled its representation in the
last election. Current Political Leaders: Emperor: Akihito (since 7 January
1989) – hereditary

Prime Minister:
Shinz? Abe (since 26 December 2012) – Liberal Democratic Party Next Election Dates
House of Representatives: On or before 13 December 2018

House of Councilors:
2019

 

Legal Environment

 

Japan is a civil
law country, governed by laws passed by Parliament and interpreted by

the courts. At the
beginning of the Meiji era (1868-1912), the German and French

legal systems were
the model for the Japanese court and legal system. After the

Second World War,
a major reform of the legal system took place in Japan with many

of the revised
laws being modeled on American law. Today, the Japanese legal system

remains a hybrid
of the continental European system and the Anglo-American system.

 

The Constitution
of Japan provides that all judicial power in Japan is vested in the

Supreme Court and
in such inferior courts as are established by law. The Court

Organization Law
establishes the following five types of courts in Japan listed in order

of judicial
authority, from highest to lowest:

(1) Supreme Court;

(2) High Courts,

(3) District
Courts;

(4) Family Courts;
and

(5) Summary
Courts.

The respective
courts have their own jurisdiction as provided by law. Each court

renders a judgment
independently and a decision of a superior court binds the courts

below in respect
of the case concerned. In contrast to common law jurisdictions,

there is no
principle of stare decisis (i.e., a court is not bound by a previous decision in
a

different case).

 

Economic
Environment

 

3rd largest
economy

 4th largest purchasing power

2nd largest
developed economy

leading industrial
clusters and manufacturing centers

World’s largest
Creditor Nation

Participates in
Economic Partnership agreements

Is a member of
multiple international trade organizations such as APEC, WTO, OECD, etc.

 

Japan, the world’s
third largest economy, is highly exposed to external shocks because of its
strong dependence on exports. This vulnerability has been on display in recent
years, as its economy experienced periods of recession alongside the slowdown
in the global economy. Natural disasters and backlash to the 2014 VAT increase
have furthered this recessionary trend. In 2015, growth remained sluggish
(0.6%), driven by foreign trade and public consumption. It is expected to
rebound slightly in 2016, led by strong exports and household consumption.

 

Moving forward,
budgetary consolidation will remain a key issue for the country as it tries to
bring its debt levels under control. The ageing of the population and political
tensions with China and South Korea are additional concerns that Japan will
have to address in the years to come.

 

 

Technological Environment/Infrastructure

Technological
Environment means forces that create new technologies, creating new product and
market opportunities (81). Japan is a good example of technological environment
because it is known for its high technology and it has its distinct market.
This is especially true when one sees the cell-phone market in Japan. Cell
phones are must have gadget to Japanese, especially for people in Tokyo where
they spend majority of the day outside of their home. Japanese cell-phones have
thus developed as more than a phone and have their own features. This
technological advance together with the high usage of cell phones caused Japan
to have its own marketing system.

 

Socio-Cultural Environment

Japan
is a very high-context culture – communication doesn’t require a lot of words,
which can be irritating for people from cultures with a lower context. The
context also includes non-verbal communication, that is very important. There
are books for foreigners that explain the different gestures and body language
codes of Japanese people.

Japanese
avoid eye contact when they want privacy and to stare into someone’s eyes,
especially when this person is older or has a higher status, is very impolite.
It is also interesting that nonverbal messages can be clearer than words, as
the high-contextuality of this culture allows words to have several meanings –
whereas in western societies, words seem more reliable than the nonverbal
communication.

In
contrast to western societies (and France), there is a high level of
collectivism. At the same time, or rather because of that, it is crucial to Japanese
people to save their face. They avoid direct confrontation and always stay
polite. Therefore, the level of assertiveness is equal zero: being
straightforward is social suicide. But there is not only this in-group
collectivism – national institutions and the organization of the whole culture
is group-centered. The company is the second family and a lot of time is spent there.
What western people call self-evaluation is not important to Japanese people –
the group judges how effective something is, not the individual. Because of the
strong sense for groups / the high level of collectivism, harmony is an
extremely important value in Japan.

Japan
has long-term orientation. Traditional values are very important. Older people
are held in very high esteem. The oldest person within a social group is always
honored and respected. When drinks are served, they are served first, and the
drink is poured for them. It seems like the importance of prestige and
collectivism is somehow linked to this long-term orientation. The sad fact,
that a lot of Japanese men commit suicide can be explained that way. Back in
the days, samurai used to commit suicide to rehabilitate their prestige and
honor. Until today, Japanese men that face a dramatic loss of esteem, commit
suicide. A loss of esteem can also be a scandal at work or a bad mistake that
causes a setback for the company. Working for a company is also a long-term and
future-oriented matter. That’s why in Japan, it is not (only) important to have
great profit in a quarter year, but to have a strong company and serve the
steak-holders in the long run.

Men
were and still are the leading group in Japan. Japan is a male-dominated
country. It is common for women to stay at home as housewife and mom once they
are married and have children. Before women introduce themselves to others, it
is also common to mention their men’s profession and children’s school first to
express her social status. Genders are not equal in Japan.

When
it comes to power distance, it is important to notice that people have a strong
sense for hierarchy. When your boss wants to drink tea with you, not accepting
is a no-go. When you greet a person with higher power, you must bend your back
enough to be physically lower than your opposite. In school, children are
taught to address to older students as “seniors”. As all decisions
are made by groups though, the power distance is not as strong as the social
order suggests.

Concerning
the level of uncertainty avoidance, you can say that Japan belongs to the
countries with the highest level of uncertainty avoidance. The geographic
setting threatens their life with earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions. To
deal with this situation, Japanese are used to prepare for worst-case
scenarios. 

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