Introduction. Japan is an archipelago of almost 4000 islands, formed by intersecting fault lines off the Asian continent. The largest are Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido. Japan's 3500-kilometre length creates great disparities in climate – from snowy Hokkaido in the north to tropical Okinawa in the south. Generally, however, Japan is a mountainous country. This fact is driven home by strong regionality and by the densely populated plains of the Kanto, Kansai and Chukyo regions of Honshu, each a centre of intense industrial and economic activity surrounding a major city – Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya respectively. The population of Japan is about 126 million, though its size and age composition are projected to change dramatically in the coming decades through ageing and a declining birth rate. Japan is a constitutional monarchy. Its Parliament is named the Diet and is made up of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, both elected directly by the people. Japan's government is composed of legislative, administrative and judicial arms. Each is independent, though the Prime Minister and the majority of the Cabinet are drawn from the Diet. Japan's political parties have seen significant realignment at the turn of the century. The centrist Democratic Party of Japan, which took power in 2009, has been the first party to substantially challenge the post-1955 status quo of a Conservative ruling party (the Liberal Democratic Party) and a socialist opposition.
|Title of host publication||Law and Legal Institutions of Asia: Traditions, adaptations and innovations|
|Editors||E Ann Black and Gary F Bell|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|