Japan
Nihon
July 9-12
Asia
Factbook

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3 The Church in Japan experienced good growth between 1945 and 1960, but both Catholic and Protestant percentages have only marginally increased since then, with conversions only just exceeding backslidings

a) The United Church — the name given to the union of all Protestant churches formed under duress during World War II

b) The growing evangelical witness

c) Quasi-Christian groups such as the Moonies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons have grown far faster than Evangelicals or Catholics and become the largest and most visible ‘Christian’ presence

4 Specific weaknesses in the churches:

a) Lack of biblical teaching

b) The minority complex

c) Non-active membership and backsliding

d) The lack of breadwinning men in the churches

e) Too few viable, active congregations

f) Lack of understanding about evil spirits in spite of their heavy presence through idolatry, fortune telling and occultic new religions

5 Bible training for Christian workers is provided by nearly 100 denominational and interdenominational seminaries and Bible Schools in which around 3,000 are in full-time training

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Peoples

Indigenous 98.8%; Japanese 98.6%; Ainu 0.2%; Foreign 1.2%.

Literacy 100%. Official language Japanese. All languages 15 (including 11 Okinawan-Ryukyuan dialects). Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 1por.

Economy

The world’s most powerful export-oriented economy despite lack of natural resources and oil. HDI 0.924; 4th/174. Public debt 50% of GNP. Income/person $38,160 (121% of USA).

Politics

Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy.

Religion

Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all by the constitution, but the rising power of nationalistic Shintoism partly associated with the new emperor is tarnishing that freedom.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Buddhist/Shinto 69.61 88,206,000 +0.2%
New Religions 24.43 30,956,284 +0.4%
non-Religious/other 4.27 5,410,697 -1.1%
Christian 1.56 1,976,742 +0.1%
Muslim 0.12 152,057 +6.1%
Baha'i 0.01 15,000 -10.8%
Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 146 0.42 538 +0.8%
Independent 36 0.22 281 +0.9%
Anglican 1 0.05 62 +1.6%
Catholic 1 0.36 457 +0.5%
Orthodox 2 0.02 26 -0.2%
Marginal 9 0.61 776 +0.1%
Disaffiliated   -0.12 -152 n.a.

Churches in Japan

Missionaries from Japan

397 in 52 agencies of which 218 are overseas in 45 countries

Missionaries to Japan

3,500 in 245 agencies from 33 countries


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Geography


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Area 377,801 sq.km. A 3,000 km arc of four large islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyushu) and 3,000 small islands in NW Pacific.

Population (2000) 126,714,220 +0.20%AGR

Capital Tokyo 34,500,000.

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