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Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin” and it is often called the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan has a total of 6,852 islands extending along the Pacific coast of East Asia. The country, including all of the islands it controls, lies between latitudes 24° and 46°N, and longitudes 122° and 146°E. The main islands, from north to south, are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. The Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa, are a chain to the south of Kyushu. Together they are often known as the Japanese archipelago. About 73 percent of Japan is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use. As a result, the habitable zones, mainly located in coastal areas, have extremely high population densities. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
The economy of Japan is the third-largest in the world by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP) and is the world's second largest developed economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the country's per capita GDP (PPP) was at $37,519, the 28th highest in 2014, down from the 22nd position in 2012.Japan is a member of the G7. The Japanese economy is forecasted by the Quarterly Tankan survey of business sentiment conducted by the Bank of Japan. Nikkei 225 presents the monthly report of top Blue chip (stock market) equities on Japan Exchange Group. Due to a volatile currency exchange rate, Japan's GDP as measured in dollars fluctuates widely. Accounting for these fluctuations through use of the Atlas method, Japan is estimated to have a GDP per capita of around $38,490 As its economy matured in the 1970s and 1980s, Japan gradually shifted away from dependence on foreign research. Japan's ability to conduct independent research and development became a decisive factor in boosting the nation's competitiveness. As early as 1980, the Science and Technology Agency, a component of the Kantei (office of the Prime Minister) announced the beginning of "the era of Japan's technological independence." By 1986 Japan had come to devote a higher proportion of its GNP to research and development than the United States. In 1989 nearly 700,000 Japanese were engaged in research and development, more than the number of French, British, and West Germans combined. At the same time, Japan was producing more engineers than any country except the United States and Soviet Union. Similar trends were seen in the use of capital resources. Japan spent US$39.1 billion on government and private research and development in 1987, equivalent to 2.9 percent of its national income (the highest ratio in the world). Although the United States spent around US$108.2 billion on research and development in 1987, only 2.6 percent of its income was devoted to that purpose, ranking it third behind Japan and West Germany. The Japanese reputation for originality also increased. Of the 1.2 million patents registered worldwide in 1985, 40 percent were Japanese, and Japanese citizens took out 19 percent of the 120,000 patent applications made in the United States. In 1987 around 33 percent of computer-related patents in the United States were Japanese, as were 30 percent of aviation-related patents and 26 percent of communications patents.
Despite Japan Nursing journals list advances in technological research and development and its major commitment to applied research, however, Japan significantly trailed other developed nations in basic scientific research. In 1989 about 13 percent of Japanese research and development funds were devoted to basic research. The proportion of basic research expenses borne by government is also much lower in Japan than in the United States, as is Japan's ratio of basic research expenses to GNP. In the late 1980s, the Japanese government attempted to rectify national deficiencies in basic research by waging a broad "originality" campaign in schools, by generously funding research, and by encouraging private cooperation in various fields.