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Japan – Land of the rising sun

Japan plays a significant role in the international community and it is a major aid donor and a source of global capital and credit. It is a member of the G8, APEC, and "ASEAN Plus Three", and is a participant in the East Asia Summit. A member state of the United Nations since 1956, Japan has served as a non-permanent Security Council member for a total of 19 years, most recently for 2009 and 2010. It is one of the G4nations seeking permanent membership in the Security Council.

The post-World War II years saw tremendous economic growth in Japan. In the late 1950s, the nation emerged as a major industrial power. By the 1970s it had become the most industrialized country in Asia and the second greatest economic power in the world after the United States. As of 2010, Japan is the third largest national economy in the world, after the United States and China. Japan's industrialized, free-market economy is highly efficient and competitive in areas linked to international trade. Even though it has few natural resources, trade helps it earn the foreign exchange needed to purchase raw material.

Japan has a large industrial capacity, and is home to some of the largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronics, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemical substances, textiles, and processed foods. Japan accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global fish catch, second only to China. Its main exports are transportation equipment, motor vehicles, electronics, electrical machinery and chemicals. Its main imports are machinery and equipment, fossil fuels, foodstuffs (in particular beef), chemicals, textiles and raw materials for its industries.

The 1997 Asian financial crisis, and bouts of recession, precipitated major banking, public spending and private sector reforms. Japan's reservoir of industrial leadership and technicians, well-educated and industrious work force, high savings and investment rates, and intensive promotion of industrial development and foreign trade has resulted in a mature industrial economy.

Japan is known all over the world for its economic prowess, the work ethics of its labour force and the quality and innovativeness of its products, especially electronic products. The Tokyo Stock Exchange (known for its Nikkei 225 and Topix indices) stands as the second largest in the world by market capitalization. Japan is also home to 326 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 (as of 2006).