Here's a look at what you need to know about Japan, a country of islands located off the eastern coast of Asia.
About Japan: (from the CIA World Fact Book) Land area: 377,915 sq km
Population: 127,253,075 (July 2013 est.)
Median age: 45.8 years (2013 est.)
Ethnic groups: Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
Religion: Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8%
GDP: $4.525 trillion (2012 est.)
GDP per capita: $36,200 (2012 est.)
Unemployment: 4.4% (2012 est.)
Other Facts: Japan is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy.
Four large islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, account for about 98% of the country's land area.
Following an economic boom after World War II, Japan has been stuck in stagnation and deflation since the 1980s.
Timeline: December 7, 1941 - Japan attacks Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, hoping to destroy the U.S. Pacific fleet.
August 6, 1945 - The first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.
August 9, 1945 - A second atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.
August 14, 1945 - V-J Day. Japan agrees to end the war.
September 2, 1945 - Japan signs the formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
1952 - Japan regains independence.
1956 - Joins the United Nations.
January 7, 1989 - Akihito becomes emperor after the death of Hirohito.
January 1995 - The 6.9 magnitude Kobe earthquake, where 5,502 people were killed and 36,896 people were injured.
March 1995 - A religious cult spreads sarin, a nerve gas, in the Tokyo subway. Twelve people are killed and more than 5,000 are sickened.
2006 - The first defense ministry since World War II is approved by the parliament.
March 11, 2011 - A 9.0 magnitude earthquake takes place 231 miles northeast of Tokyo. The earthquake causes a tsunami with 30 ft waves that damage several nuclear reactors in the area. The confirmed death toll is 15,880 as of February 28, 2013.