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Japan, officially Nippon (日本) is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of China, Korea and Russia. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the "Land of the Rising Sun".

Japan comprises over 3,000 islands, the largest of which are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world's tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history. Since adopting its constitution in 1947, Japan has maintained a unitary constitutional monarchy with an emperor and an elected parliament, the Diet.

A major economic power, Japan has the world's third largest economy by nominal GDP. It is a member of the United Nations, G8, G4, OECD and APEC, with the world's fifth largest defense budget. It is also the world's fourth largest exporter and sixth largest importer and a world leader in technology and machinery.

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The Akutan Zero is inspected by US military personnel on Akutan Island on July 11, 1942.
The Akutan Zero was a type 0 model 21 Mitsubishi A6M Zero Japanese fighter plane which crash-landed on Akutan Island during World War II. It was captured intact by the Americans in July 1942 and became the first flyable Zero acquired by the United States during the war. Following its capture, it was repaired and flown by American test pilots. As a result of information gained during these tests, American strategists were able to devise tactics to defeat the Zero, which was the Imperial Japanese Navy's primary fighter plane throughout the war. The Akutan Zero was "a prize almost beyond value to the United States", and "probably one of the greatest prizes of the Pacific war". Japanese historian Masatake Okumiya noted that the acquisition of the Akutan Zero "was no less serious" than the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway, and that it "did much to hasten [Japan's] final defeat". The Akutan Zero was destroyed in a training accident in 1945. Pieces of it are preserved in several museums in the United States.

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Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Two Japanese Imperial soldiers who have committed suicide by shooting themselves instead of surrendering to U.S. Marines in Tarawa, Gilbert Islands during World War II.

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October 17:


Film and television

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Katsuhiko Nakajima is a Japanese professional wrestler, represented as a freelancer by his mentor Kensuke Sasaki's Kensuke Office dojo and agency. He along with Sasaki and other Kensuke Office graduates currently most frequently wrestle in Pro Wrestling Noah (or simply NOAH), as well as sporadic self-produced independent shows. Prior to that Nakajima participated in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), where he is a former AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion. Having made his professional debut aged 15, Nakajima has already made a significant impact on puroresu, earning the nickname "Supernova" and facing Hall of Famers such as Kenta Kobashi, Satoru Sayama, Jushin Liger, and Tatsumi Fujinami. He has competed in several notable Japanese promotions, including New Japan Pro Wrestling, AJPW, Pro Wrestling ZERO1, Michinoku Pro, Dragon Gate, and currently, NOAH. He has set several age records over his short career, including being the youngest wrestler to compete in AJPW's Champion's Carnival tournament and the youngest to hold the AJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship. He won the Tokyo Sports Grand Prix "Rookie of the Year" award in 2004 and the Fighting Spirit award in 2005.

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Flag of Fukuoka Prefecture
Fukuoka Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on Kyūshū Island. The capital is the city of Fukuoka. It includes the former provinces of Chikugo, Chikuzen, and Buzen. Fukuoka Prefecture has signed Friendship Agreements with Bangkok, Thailand, Delhi, India, and Hanoi, Vietnam. Fukuoka Prefecture faces the sea on three sides, bordering on Saga, Ōita, and Kumamoto prefectures and facing Yamaguchi Prefecture across the Kanmon Straits. Fukuoka includes the two largest cities on Kyūshū, Fukuoka and Kitakyushu, and much of Kyūshū's industry. It also includes a number of small islands near the north coast of Kyūshū. Twenty-eight cities are located in Fukuoka Prefecture. Its main cities form one of Japan's main industrial centers, accounting for nearly 40% of the economy of Kyūshū. Major industries include automobiles, semiconductors and steel. The most popular places for tourists are Fukuoka City, especially at the time of the Dontaku festival, and Dazaifu, although Kitakyushu has also tried to attract tourists.

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Japanese artilleryman, c. 1882


In the news

15 October 2019 –
The number of people confirmed killed in central and eastern Japan by Typhoon Hagibis rises to 66, with 15 people still missing and more than 200 injured. (Reuters)
13 October 2019 –
Forty-eight people are confirmed dead, about 100 others are injured and 17 are missing after Typhoon Hagibis makes landfall in Japan. (Sky News)
12 October 2019 –
Typhoon Hagibis makes landfall in Japan, the biggest storm to hit the region in decades, with over seven million people urged to evacuate. (BBC)
11 October 2019 – 2019 Japan–South Korea trade dispute
Japan and South Korea hold the first round of talks in Geneva to address a South Korea complaint with World Trade Organization over Japanese export controls. (Yonhap)
7 October 2019 –
A North Korean fishing boat collides with a Japanese Fisheries Agency vessel and sinks off Japan. At least 20 North Koreans are pulled from the water. The Japanese ship had been attempting to warn the North Korean vessel away from Japanese territory. (Bloomberg) (The New York Times)
2 October 2019 – Japan–North Korea relations, North Korean missile tests
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe condemns in the strongest terms the latest North Korean missile tests and says they clearly violate United Nations Security Council resolutions. (BBC)

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Coordinates: 36°30′N 139°00′E / 36.5°N 139°E / 36.5; 139