The modern Japanese are essentially a Mongoloid race and are similar in appearance to the Chinese and Koreans; the Japanese, however, are slightly smaller in stature. Japan is an industrialized urban society, and more than three-quarters of the people live in metropolitan areas. Japanese is the official language, and English is widely used in commerce.

Population Characteristics.
The population of Japan (1993 est.) was 124,670,000. The overall population density was about 330 persons per sq km (about 855 per sq mi).

Political Divisions.
Japan is divided into 47 chief administrative divisions, 44 of which are called ken, or prefectures. The prefectures include Okinawa, which was occupied by the U.S. after World War II and returned to Japan in 1972. The cities of Kyoto and Osaka each constitute an urban prefecture, or fu, and the city of Tokyo constitutes a metropolis, or to.