Nippon or Nihon
|Government||Unitary dominant-party parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|-||660-585 BCE||Jimmu (first)|
|-||1885-1888||Itō Hirobumi (first)|
|-||2136-2141||Kano Himura (last)|
|-||Upper house||House of Councillors|
|-||Lower house||House of Representatives|
|-||National Foundation Day||February 11, 660 BCE|
|-||Dissolution||September 16, 2141 CE|
|Currency||Yen (¥) JPY|
|Today part of||Association of East-Asia|
Japan (Japanese: 日本 Nippon or Nihon; formally 日本国 About this sound Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, "State of Japan") was an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, Korea and Chita, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The Kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", and Japan is often called "Land of the Rising Sun".
Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area.
Following its defeat in the Second World War, Japan had been incorporated into the US sphere of influence as a major ally against the Soviet Union and (after the Cold War ended) China and Russia . During most of this time, Japan's ability to fight was strictly limited by the constitution placed on it by the US, which forbade it from maintaining an offensive military. It did, however, possess a Self-Defense Force, which many recognized as a military in all but name. During the 2010s, under the government of Shinzo Abe, Japan began to take noticeable steps toward remilitarizing, fielding an aircraft carrier (labeled, for political-correctness purposes, as a "helicopter destroyer") and a stealth fighter.
The rise of Chinese military capabilities appeared as a threat to the entire Indo-Pacific region. Japan thus took a leading role to forge an anti-China coalition with other partners such as Australia and India, as well as preserving ties with the United States. Japan would offer economic aid to nations perceived in China's sphere in order to draw them away, as well as make massive investments in regional infrastructure and industry. Efforts such as these are considered the beginning of the "new Japanese Empire."
After the fragmentation of Russia, the United States began leaning on Japan to play the role of peacekeeper in the North Pacific. Japan was initially reluctant to take on this role, and initially involved itself in regional disputes only if the US was already involved. This form of geopolitical hand-holding continued until the Flood which put enormous pressure on the Japanese government to take a more active role in regional affairs. Officially, the country maintained its constitutional guarantees against aggressive military force and bans against certain types of weapon systems like Aircraft Carriers. Japan got around this by producing smaller Helicoptor carriers and emphasizing the use and development of STOVL and VTOL aircraft that could more easily launch from them. This proved to be more advantageous for the Japanese military, as its Navy only had to operate relatively close to Japanese waters and the policy fueled the development of more advanced hypersonic drones that could be launched from the Home Islands while more advanced subsonic VTOL drones cold be launched from carriers in far greater volumes than other powers of the day.
One of the largest political advocates for Japanese resurgence was Nippon Kaigi, a right wing association and think tank that advocated for Japanese nationalism, reasserting the position of the Emperor, and ending apologies for Japanese war crimes committed during World War II. The group gained greater prominence during the tenure of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who's government approved a reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, granting the country the right to use their military to defend their allies. After the abdication and death of Emperor Heisei (Akihito) and the beginning of the Flood, this movement grew to prominence in Japanese Society and many of its reforms were adopted, including an outright repeal of Article 9.
To secure regional interests and demographic problems, Japan slowly began assimilating territory after the Flood began. Technically, this began in 2023 with the annexation of the Kuril islands, but most historians mark the 2025 arrangement to lease territory on Sakhalin (at this point a territory with no clear international recognition as being an independent state or part of Russia) to build naval and air bases, and granting Japanese corporations a most-favored-nation deal in the oil and gas industry. There are some historians, however, that Japanese expansionism actually began in 2019 when Prime Minister Abe declared the island of Minami-Tori-shima to be off limits to foreign developers following the 2018 study that revealed the presence of 16 million tonnes of Rare Earth Elements. Japan's control of Pacific Rare Earth Elements was considered a key strategic target by the US Navy during World War III.
Tens of thousands of Japanese nationals relocated to Sakhalin to establish businesses, and buy up valuable assets. After the Flood, the Japanese began a more aggressive campaign to colonize Sakhalin; even with the hastily constructed sea walls, about 3 million people were displaced in the Home Islands. Japanese real-estate companies and Japanese citizens who bought homes and land on Sakhalin saw the opportunity and started advertising for displaced people to take advantage of cheap land on the island. The locals were initially supportive of the new income, but after some clashes with local nationalist forces opposed to millions of foreigners moving into their country and squatting in refugee camps, the Japanese military stationed in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk instituted marshal law. An annexation agreement was presented like an ultimatum to the local government (a Republic at this point), that would make the locals naturalized citizens of Japan, and give the new province a Trillion Yen to improve local infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Japan established several "Special Economic Zones" with major Chinese, former-Russian, and even Canadian port cities to secure economic interests in the North Pacific. In many cases, the Special Economic Zones were eventually upgraded or expanded into Extraterritorial Districts, pseudo-colonies of Japan, usually localized to areas of foreign cities, but in some cases included large swaths of industrial, suburban, and even agricultural areas.
In the 2020s the US began selling Japan ships and aircraft to expand its role in securing international interests in the North Pacific. Following the Flood, the Japanese government radically increased domestic military production and research as well. Japan also began developing its own armored exoskeletons to enhance their soldier's capabilities in the field. Unlike American suits, which were adapted from support systems, the first Japanese suits were built as combat systems. The The Type 29, the first Japanese-built suit, was a lightly armored suit that increased the strength and speed of the wearer, and was used to great effect by special forces operators across the North Pacific for much of the 2030s with uparmored variants trickling into regular SDF units. After the Assault on Magadan where Japanese armor was used in concert with Drones to secure the city, Japan began designing standardized suits for an all-armored infantry. The culmination of this project was the Type 41, the first armored exoskeleton to provide total coverage from small arms fire, a tactile neural interface, and the first on-board weapon of a production model in the form of a back-mounted mortar launcher.
During this time, Japan also began ramping up their space program to take advantage of critical resources on the Moon and Asteroids, sending its first astronaut to the moon in 2029. Japan was the second country, after the United States, to set up a permanent base on the moon (China had sent a single manned mission to the moon in 2025, but this was never repeated). The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) took over the Vostochny Cosmodrome, renaming it the Itokawa Spaceport. Japan took in hundreds of former Russian and Chinese rocket Scientists over the next decade, along with expanding their already sizable Aerospace corps of engineers and scientists. By 2040, Japan was second only to the US in space, with bases across the Earth-Luna system for civilian and military activities. It was around this time that the United States ended its mutual-assistance relationship with Japan. This was followed by a series of trade embargoes, the most far-reaching of which was enacted in 2045.
Demographic experts in the turn of the 21st century estimated that Japan would face a rapid population decline from 127 million people in 2020s to around 88 million by 2065. To combat this crisis, Japan has encouraged women and the elderly to work while vastly expanding its dependence in AI machinery to make up for the labor shortage. The Japanese government also gradually lowered its many hurdles for foreign workers to attain visas and permenant residency. This became much easier during the Flood Crisis, where the island nation found itself taking in many refugees from both the mainland and abroad, especially from the newly acquired territories. It should also be noted that foreign retirees sharply increased following the Crisis. By 2040, non-native residents (both temporary and permanent) made up between 8.9% to 10.2% of the population, up from 2.3% in 2019. The largest groups were Russians (mainly from the newly acquired , followed by Americans, Koreans, and Chinese.
The rise in the non-Japanese population in the 2030s became a political issue, as many native Japanese citizens feared that their culture would be drastically changed, and at worst, erased. Because of this, foreign residents faced concerning levels of discrimination, which heightened during World War III. The term "gaijin", meaning "foreigner" in Japanese, became an increasingly derogatory word to describe foreigners who has not attained permanent residency and rejected speaking the Japanese language. However, this became extended to all non-Japanese citizens by World War III.
Along with Turkey, Japan was one of the main countries in the Coalition during the Third World War, which lasted from 2051 to 2055. This war was far less destructive to all parties concerned than the Second World War, and less than half a million people in total were killed. During the years leading up to the war, increased suspicion and hostility toward Japan caused the popularity of Japanese culture in the US and vice versa to decline, though anti-Japanese sentiment never reached the fever pitch it did in the 1940s. Nevertheless, some adherents of Japanese cultural exports and products did remain even during the war years--the so-called Honda Hippies.
Although, Japanese culture in turn has found itself changed as it entered a new world. US Space Forces conducted orbital bombardment campaigns against strategic military centers in Japan in an effort to destroy Japanese war industry and terrorize the population. While few civilians were killed in these strikes, the psychological impact of American orbital weapons striking the Japanese mainland was powerful. Many historians would compare the impact of the orbital bombardments to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After the war, many American firms found opportunities and moved into Japan as many industries during World War III were destroyed that left major Japanese companies unable to fully compete. As a result, many American influences were imported. Japanese culture underwent another massive change not seen since American Occupation of World War II. By the 2070s, Japanese culture became less traditional and more progressive, more westernized. Education became much more liberal, many Japanese schools dropped the use of school uniforms while rubrics about Japanese atrocities in World War II and World War III were emphasized, similar to German education covering Nazi atrocities. Japanese work culture grew generally much less strict, and the concept of the struggling salaryman became rare, or in many cases, no longer existed. While traditionalist Japanese vehemently opposed this changing, thinking that it will erased their cultures, their fear are unfounded, debunked, and rejected. The changes in Japanese culture only concerns with works, respectful treatments of others, equality for women and non-Japanese, and wider educational knowledge that they once rejected because they are “anti-Japanese”.
Shifts in work culture was greatly positive for many Japanese as the country adopted progressive economic ideals and policies from the US, while equality allows women and non-Japanese to contributed to the wealth and productivity of Japanese economy and society. As a result, people not only are more economically stable, no longer really stressed about works and get into a “karoshi” situation, but they also have more times to spend with families and loved one. Combined with their spouses who are also economically stable, the nature of a gig economy that allows productive remote-working, a greatly connected nation using hyperloops, foreign aids in economy and infrastructure reconstruction and investments from the Allies, it meant that Japanese families are actually extremely benefits from such post-war changes. The families are now far more stable, connected, and caring, with many Japanese couples reporting a high trust rating towards each other, allowing children to be raised positively by both instead of only one while the other being the "struggled salaryman".
Not to mention, many aspect of Japanese culture like traditional festivals, ceremonies, clothes, architectures, religious infrastructures and centers, languages and many others have remained intact with only some changes, which further discredited the traditionalist arguments. Because of the new liberal, progressive Japanese attitudes, there was a notable increase in the amount of “gyaru” in post-war Japan, one not seen since the 2000s, but soon exceeded that amount, especially in the 2060s to the 2080s when genetic engineering and fashions come into play.
Shortly after the war ended, Japan once again found itself allied with the US as a counter to the influence of Mexico and Poland, and Japanese culture became popular again. This alliance lasted uninterrupted through the Third Mexican-American War in 2132, after which Japan was incorporated into the Association of East Asia.
In 2058, Japan restored Article 9 of their constitution, but maintained the interpretation allowing for defending their allies. Japan was forced to withdraw their civilian population from mainland Asia over the next decade, and reduce their military. The country's economy entered into a slow decline, being surpassed by China once again as the world's second largest economy by 2080, and falling to fourth place behind India in 2095. By the beginning of the 22nd century, the country's economy had seen a return of positive growth thanks to a robust robotics industry. However, by the time of the Third-Mexican War, its population gradually declined to 75 million people, an estimated 20% are non-Japanese citizens. Its society continued to fragment in a neo-feudalist fashion. After the Third Mexican War Japan became the last country in East-Asia to agree to join the Association.