Japan is an island nation located in the northwest Pacific Ocean in East Asia, surrounded by the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the East China Sea, and Taiwan. About 75 % of the country’s landscape is mountainous but most of its residents are living in coastal plains. Japan is the world’s eleventh most populous country and is the third-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP and the fourth-largest in terms of PPP. With debt at 236% against its GDP as of 2017, the nation has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio among developed countries.

Japan’s economy is driven by exports of motor vehicles, semiconductors, auto parts, and steel products. The country’s exports account for 18.5% of GDP in 2018 with the United States and China as its primary export markets. Meanwhile, most of its machinery and equipment, fossil fuels, materials for industries, food, and chemicals are exported. Japan also has an extensive cooperative sector and the largest agricultural cooperative as well as consumer cooperative in the world. Furthermore, it ranked sixth in the 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness Report.

The country’s official currency is the Japanese yen which is the third-largest reserve currency in the world and the third most traded monetary unit, next to the US dollar and the euro. The first Japanese yen banknotes were issued by the Greater Japan Imperial Government during the Japanese Empire era, following the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1867 and the restoration of the emperor in 1868. The recently issued set of Japanese yen banknotes consists of three denominations: 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen in blue, lilac, and brown respectively. The smallest denomination features bacteriologist Kitasato Shibasaburo. The 5,000 yen, on the other hand, depicts the founder of Tsuda Juku University and the first Japanese woman to ever study in the United States, Tsuda Umeko. Industrialist Shibusawa Eiichi is portrayed on the 10,000-yen banknote. These paper bills bear 3D holographic features, enhanced watermarks, and enlarged denominations to assist the visually-impaired bearers.

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