President Obama on death of Kenji Goto: 'Through his reporting, Mr. Goto courageously sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world. Our thoughts are with Mr. Goto's family and loved ones, and we stand today in solidarity with Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people in denouncing this barbaric act'
Editor's note: In the video depicting the execution of Kenji Goto; a hooded man addresses Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: 'Because of your reckless decision to take part in an unwinnable
war, this knife will not only slaughter Kenji, but will also carry on and cause carnage wherever your people are found. So let the nightmare for Japan begin'
Editor's note: Agence France-Press, citing the SITE Intelligence Group, says Islamic State militants claim they have beheaded their Japanese hostage, Kenji Goto So far, I've seen no confirmation from official sources. - Tom
Jordanian pilot's father says his government is not taking hostage negotiations with the Islamic State militants holding his son seriously: 'The government needs to work seriously, the way one would do to free a son, like the Japanese government does' - @AP
Japan /dʒəˈpæn/ (Japanese: 日本 Nippon or Nihon; formally 日本国 Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, literally "[the] State of Japan") is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, 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 characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is often referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which together comprise about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. Due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan is substantially prone to earthquakes and tsunami, having the highest natural disaster risk in the developed world. Japan has the world's tenth-largest population, with over 126 million people. Honshū's Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the de facto capital of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.
Archaeological research indicates that people lived in Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other nations followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shoguns in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, which was only ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. Nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection followed before the Meiji Emperor was restored as head of state in 1868 and the Empire of Japan was proclaimed, with the Emperor as a divine symbol of the nation. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism. The Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since adopting its revised constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected legislature called the Diet.
Japan is a member of the UN, the G7, the G8, the G20. A major economic great power, Japan is a developed country and has the world's third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the world's fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the world's eighth largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan ranks high in metrics of prosperity such as the Human Development Index, with Japanese women enjoying the highest life expectancy of any country in the world and the infant mortality rate being the third lowest globally.