Japan , island country lying off the east coast of Asia. It consists of a great string of islands in a northeast-southwest arc that stretches for approximately 1, miles 2, km through the western North Pacific Ocean. Honshu is the largest of the four, followed in size by Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. In addition, there are numerous smaller islands, the major groups of which are the Ryukyu Nansei Islands including the island of Okinawa to the south and west of Kyushu and the Izu , Bonin Ogasawara , and Volcano Kazan islands to the south and east of central Honshu. The Japanese landscape is rugged, with more than four-fifths of the land surface consisting of mountains. Abundant precipitation and the generally mild temperatures throughout most of the country have produced a lush vegetation cover and, despite the mountainous terrain and generally poor soils, have made it possible to raise a variety of crops.
Center for Strategic & International Studies
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When they first arrived in the United States, Asian usually Chinese immigrants were welcomed, or at least tolerated. After the California gold rush brought thousands of Chinese to California, however, Asian immigrants faced restrictive laws and occasional violence. In the late s, Chinese, and eventually other Asians, were excluded from citizenship. These laws were repealed during World War II , followed by further immigration-law changes, making it easier for Asians to enter the United States.