Japan external image Japan_map.jpg external image Japan%20flag.gif

Population: 127,288,416 (July 2008)

is the best time of year to be in Japan. The temperatures are warm but are not hot, there's not too much rain at this time of year and March-April brings the justly famous cherry blossoms and is a time of festivals. Just watch out for the Golden Week (April 27 to May 6), the longest holiday of the year, when everybody travels and everything is booked.

starts with a rainy season in June and turns into a steam bath in July-August, with a lot of humidity and the temperature heading as high as 40°C. (mid-August), when everybody is on the road again, is probably the worst possible time to visit. Avoid, or do as the Japanese do and head to northern Hokkaido or the mountains of Chubu and Tohoku to escape.

Autumn - Fall, starting in September, is a close second to spring. Temperatures become more tolerable, fair days are common and fall colours can be just as impressive as cherry blossoms.

is a good time to go skiing or hot-spring hopping, but as the, it's often miserably cold indoors. Heading south to Okinawa provides a lot of relief. Also watch out for New Years (December 29 to January 3), the only days of the year when everything in the country shuts down.

air pollution from power plant results in acid rain acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening water life. Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere

Because there are much of the Japanese population (estimated at around 127.5 million people) lives in such a small percentage of the country (70 percent on three percent of the land), much of the remaining areas of Japan are quite undeveloped. Notwithstanding, only about 20 percent of the country’s original vegetation is thought to remain intact. After World War II, the Forestry Agency of Japan promoted clear-cutting of the high-elevation conifer forests and replaced them with Japanese timber species such as sugi ( Cryptomeria japonica) and Kara-matsu ( Larix leptolepis). Today, plantations are widespread on Japan. However, unlike many other places, Japan’s remaining forests are not facing elevated threat due to logging, owing to the high cost of Japanese timber compared to cheap imports from other countries.

Japan accounted for around 39% of total global cell production in 2006. In 1997, Japan took the lead as the country generating the most power from solar energy, a lead it has extended in the years since, with production passing 1.13 million kilowatts during 2005.
The Japanese have the right idea. They have been wasting energy for a long time and have to get down and dirty in saving some. Considering the technological lead Japanese automakers like Toyota and Honda have shown in hybrid technology, it is time for the Japanese government to show leadership in promoting plug-in hybrid technology and alternative energy. By doing so Japan can lock in long term electricity and transportation fuel prices and reduce its significant exposure to rises in fossil fuels prices. It also has an opportunity to set an example on an international level by leading the way to a post oil age.

8) The European Union and Japan ratified the Kyoto protocol 30th April, binding themselves to cut greenhouse gas emissions despite America's refusal to have anything to do with the treaty.