About Japan

Most of the population lives on one quarter of the land area in cities. Out of about 127 million inhabitants, approximately 35 million live in the greater metropolitan area of Tokyo which includes Japan’s second largest city Yokohama, the city of Kawasaki and the prefectures of Saitama and Chiba. The biggest other cities are Osaka (2,6 million), Nagoya (2,2 million) and Sapporo (1,9 million). The Kanto region alone produces 40 percent of Japanese economic strength, a figure comparable to the GDP of Italy. So there are many good reasons why most foreign businesses choose Tokyo as the point of departure for their Japan activities. But if you go to Chiba, Yokohama or Saitama, you can expect even subsidies and are still close to the economic center of Japan.

Education

Like in all countries with a Confucian tradition, education is highly valued in Japan. Compulsory schooling lasts for nine years (elementary school six years plus middle school three years). Hence, the whole population is literate. The education system is very competitive. From middle school many children attend a private school to improve their chances of passing the very demanding university entrance tests. Many students go to cram schools called Juku to prepare for the tests. The universities offer a four year bachelor course followed by a two year master’s or doctor’s degree. The best public universities are the University of Tokyo and the University of Kyoto, the best private ones Keio and Waseda University. Their graduates have good career chances in public service and big companies.

Population Distribution

Most of the population lives on one quarter of the land area in cities. Out of about 127 million inhabitants, approximately 35 million live in the greater metropolitan area of Tokyo which includes Japan’s second largest city Yokohama, the city of Kawasaki and the prefectures of Saitama and Chiba. The biggest other cities are Osaka (2,6 million), Nagoya (2,2 million) and Sapporo (1,9 million). The Kanto region alone produces 40 percent of Japanese economic strength, a figure comparable to the GDP of Italy. So there are many good reasons why most foreign businesses choose Tokyo as the point of departure for their Japan activities. But if you go to Chiba, Yokohama or Saitama, you can expect even subsidies and are still close to the economic center of Japan.

Language and Writing

Like in all countries with a Confucian tradition, education is highly valued in Japan. Compulsory schooling lasts for nine years (elementary school six years plus middle school three years). Hence, the whole population is literate. The education system is very competitive. From middle school many children attend a private school to improve their chances of passing the very demanding university entrance tests. Many students go to cram schools called Juku to prepare for the tests. The universities offer a four year bachelor course followed by a two year master’s or doctor’s degree. The best public universities are the University of Tokyo and the University of Kyoto, the best private ones Keio and Waseda University. Their graduates have good career chances in public service and big companies.