The World and Its People
Japan and the Koreas
Japan is an archipelago off the coast of eastern Asia. The mountains of Japan are volcanic, but many are no longer active. The most famous peak is Mount Fuji, Japan's highest mountain and national symbol. Despite its lack of mineral resources, Japan has developed a strong industrial economy. Farmland is very limited, but Japanese farmers use intensive cultivation, modern machinery, and fertilizers to produce high crop yields. Most of its citizens live in crowded urban areas on the coastal plains. Japan's government is a constitutional monarchy. Many Japanese practice two religions, Buddhism and Shinto, which also have influenced the country's arts.
The Korean Peninsula juts out from northern China, between the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and the Yellow Sea. Following World War II it was divided into two countries—Communist North Korea and non-Communist South Korea. South Korea has a strong industrial economy. The Communist government of North Korea has spent money and devoted resources to its military. As a result, the country is economically poor.