About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

Click here for the sources of the statistical data

Surface area:377900 km2
GNI per capita:40062 US$
Classification:Major industrialized economy



Buddhist: 70.00%

New religious movements: 24.00%

Christian: 1.00%


Protestants: 541590

Catholics: 528000

Anglicans: 64500

Orthodox: 25200

Independent: 493240

Google maps

Japan was settled thousands of years ago by people who migrated from China and Korea. For much of its history, it has been an empire with a centralized government. Japan closed itself to the West from the 16th until the middle of the 19th century. It became an imperialistic power with a form of emperor worship in the first half of the 20th century, colonizing Korea, invading China, and eventually occupying most of South East Asia during World War II. It was the first country to suffer a nuclear attack, in 1945 (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). In 1947, a peace constitution based on democratic principles was established under the influence of the US, and Japan renounced the use of military force. The emperor remained the head of state, but with a mostly ceremonial role. Japan's economy developed rapidly and the country has become a major economic power in the world. Tensions with other countries in Asia remain, especially with China and Korea, because of the recent history and the way it is reflected in Japanese textbooks and official commemorations. The original religion of Japan is Shinto, which has intermingled with Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. The Christian churches form a small minority. The Protestant churches, through the national Christian council, have been active in promoting reconciliation between Japan and the Asian countries it had occupied, opposing the re-emergence of nationalism, re-militarization, and nuclear armament. There are a number of small but active Evangelical, Pentecostal and Holiness groups. The Japan Evangelical Association is affiliated with the WEA.


Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

WCC member churches based in Japan

WCC member churches present in Japan

    Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

    Last updated: 01/01/06