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In most collectivist cultures, direct confrontation of another person is considered rude and undesirable. The word 'no' is seldom used, because saying 'no' is a confrontation; 'you may be right' and 'we will think about it' are examples of polite ways of turning down a request. In the same vein, the word 'yes' should not necessarily be inferred as an approval, since it is used to maintain the line of communication: ‘yes, I heard you’ is the meaning it has in Japan.’

Geert Hofstede, 'Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind'


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Saviour or snake-oil salesman, if many Japanese welcomed Mr Abe as the comeback kid, few, if any, of them could really understand quite how his re-birth had come about. His first period in office had not been distinguished by savvy news management and subtle diplomatic footwork. Some observers attributed his reincarnation to his having experienced the peculiarly Japanese process of shame and embarrassment, had set about correcting his earlier mistakes. Politics were in Mr Abe’s bloodstream. His grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi had served as conservative, nationalist Japanese prime minister from February 1957 to July 1960. Before the Second World War he had worn a colonialist hat as the architect of Japan’s invasion of Manchuria (China). Mr Abe’s conservative credentials were strengthened by his regular allusions to patriotism and periods of Japan’s past that he describes as ‘beautiful. ’But while still casting backward glances, Mr Abe ‘redux’ had begun to look forward, no longer interested in any historical diversions. 

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- Timeline

- Political structure

- Population,

- Education  

- Health

- Welfare

- Main cities

- Languages spoken

- Media

- Economy

- Agriculture

- Industry and manufacturing

- Tourism

- Mining,

- Hydrocarbons

- Energy

- Financial markets

- Banking and insurance

- Time

- Geography

- Climate

- Dress codes

- Entry requirements

- Health (for visitors)

- Hotels

- Credit cards

- Public holidays

- Working hours

- Telecommunications

- Electricity

- Social customs and useful tips

- Security

- Getting there

- Getting about

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Key Facts

Key Facts:

Key Facts
Official name: Nippon or Nihon (Japan)
Head of State: Emperor Tsegu no Miya Akihito (since 1989)
Head of government: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (LDP) (from 16 Dec 2012)
Ruling party: Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito Party (LDP-NKP coalition) from 16 Dec 2012)
Area: 377,728 square km (3,900 small islands)
Population: 127.06 million (2014)
Capital: Tokyo
Official language: Japanese
Currency: Yen (¥)
Exchange rate: ¥119.75 per US$ (Sep 2015)
GDP per capita: US$36,332 (2014)
GDP real growth: -0.06% (2014)
GDP: US$4,616.34 billion (2014)
Labour force: 65.93 million (2014)*
Unemployment: 3.58% (2014)
Inflation: 2.74% (2014)
Balance of trade: -US$99.20 billion (2014)
* estimated figure


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