Lush forests and bustling cities, traditional yet technologically advanced, Japan is a country where the past and the future meet in perfect harmony. It is a land that strives to better itself time and again. Here are ten facts that make Japan stand out from other countries.
1. Japan experiences around 1,500 earthquakes every year, and minor tremors occur almost every day.
There are around 111 active volcanoes in the country, and around 15 volcanic events including eruptions occur every year. Many of these pose a serious threat to human life.
Japan is situated in the “Ring of Fire,” an area where continental and oceanic plates meet. Because of this, it has been the target of 10 of the worst natural disasters of this century.
Despite this, the country remains resilient, bouncing back after every disaster, and has the second largest developed economy and the third largest economy in terms of nominal GDP in the world. (1, 2, 3, 4)
2. Despite being home to one of the highest human population densities, over 68.55% of Japan is covered in forests.
Its forest management policy began over four centuries ago when increased demand of timber due to increase in population threatened the country’s forest cover.
3. In Japanese schools, cleaning is part of the curriculum. Children as young as six are taught to clean as part of everyday school activities to inculcate respect, responsibility, and equality.
Some jobs like cleaning the washrooms, painting, and repairs, of course, are left to professional cleaners. (source)
4. Japan has one of the most punctual railways in the world with less than a minute average delay on the high-speed Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Shin-Ōsaka in 2018.
Delays are so uncommon that the conductor announces an apology and the rail company may even issue a “delay certificate” if the train is five minutes late. If it’s an hour late, it appears on the news. (1, 2)
5. Japan has the lowest obesity rate among developed countries in the world. Based on international standards which defines a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 as obesity, only 4.3 percent of Japanese are obese compared to 36.2 percent of Americans as of 2019.
In 2008, Japan has introduced a law known as “metabo law” which requires citizens between 40 and 75 to have their waistlines measured once a year to keep the spread of metabolic diseases like diabetes and strokes in check. Overweight individuals are required to attend dieting classes, and if they don’t, their employers will be fined. (1, 2, 3)
6. There are over 5 million vending machines in Japan. That’s almost one for every 23 people in the country.
apanese love automation so much that you can find a vending machine for almost anything including hot and cold drinks, hot dogs, comic books, toilet paper, umbrellas, instant ramen, rice, bananas, and even fresh eggs. (1, 2)
7. In Japan, many schools and companies organize “crying workshops” to encourage their students or staff to cry in an effort to relieve stress and to help them feel comfortable and able to share their emotions.
The companies hire a crying, handsome man who shows sad videos and wipes the participants’ tears, and at schools, it is a professional known as “namida sensei” or “tears teacher” who hosts activities and lectures about crying. (1, 2)
8. In Japan, children as young as three ride the school bus by themselves, and by five or six, they learn to use public transport or walk all the way to school without their parents.
Schools and parents teach these skills to the children so that they could be independent and self-sufficient. The success of this system is due to the trusty neighborhood which keeps an eye on the children at the same time allowing them the space to learn.
There is also a popular TV show in Japan called Hajimete no Otsukai or My First Errand which features kids two or three years old running errands for their parents as a secret camera crew films them. (1, 2)
9. Crime rate in Japan has been on the decline for the past 17 years, from 2.8 million recorded crimes in 2002 to less than one million in 2017.
10. The average life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest in the world at 84.5 years compared to 78.9 years in the United States in 2018 according to the United Nations Development Program.
Anyone who reaches 100 years in Japan is honored by the Prime Minister with a gift of sterling silver cup, a tradition that started in 2009.
But, since then, there has been such a dramatic increase in the number of centenarians that the government had to switch to silver plated cups in 2016. As of 2019, there are almost 70,000 people aged 100 or older. (1, 2)
That’s all folks. What do you think makes Japan an amazing country? Let us know in the comments below.