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is an [island country] in [East Asia] . Located in the [Pacific Ocean] , it lies to the east of the [Sea of Japan] , [China] , [North Korea] , [South Korea] and [Russia] , stretching from the [Sea of Okhotsk] in the north to the [East China Sea] and [Taiwan] in the south. The [characters] which make up [Japan's name] mean "sun-origin", which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the " [Land of the Rising Sun] ".

Japan is an [archipelago] of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are [Honshū] , [Hokkaidō] , [Kyūshū] and [Shikoku] , together accounting for 97% of Japan's land area. Most of the islands are [mountain] ous, many [volcanic] ; for example, Japan’s highest peak, [Mount Fuji] , is a volcano. Japan has the world's [tenth-largest population] , with about 128 million people. The [Greater Tokyo Area] , which includes [the ''de facto'' capital city] of [Tokyo] and several surrounding [prefectures] , is the [largest metropolitan area] in the world, with over 30 million residents.

[Archaeological] research indicates that people were living on the islands of Japan as early as the [Upper Paleolithic] period. The first written mention of Japan begins with brief appearances in [Chinese history] texts from the first century A.D. Influence from the outside world followed by long periods of isolation has characterized [Japan's history] . Since adopting its [constitution] in 1947, Japan has maintained a [unitary] [constitutional monarchy] with an [emperor] and an elected parliament, the [Diet] .

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