The 'Land of the Rising Sun' for centuries was a very closed society until the first Europeans opened the door for trade. Japan then became and remained an economic powerhouse through the 20th century until today.
Japan is an archipelago in the northeastern Pacific region with a population of about 126 million, making it the world's 10th most populous country. It is currently the world's 3rd largest economy. The country today blends a distinctly Western lifestyle with its ancient religion and traditions that go back thousands of years.
Even though radiation levels in a village near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster still exceed international guidelines, its evacuated residents are being coerced to return, according to a Greenpeace report.
UN condemnation has followed Pyongyang's claim that it "successfully" test-fired a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan. This latest activity may be a game changer, a former US envoy to Seoul tells DW's Brent Goff.