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Japan is an archipelago consisting of over 6,800 islands. The three largest islands are Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku, together accounting for almost ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano.
Archaeological research indicates that people lived in Japan as early as the Upper Paleolithic period. The first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other nations followed by long periods of isolation has characterized Japan's history.
A major economic power, Japan has the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and by purchasing power parity. It is also the world's fourth largest exporter and fifth largest importer. Although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains an extensive modern military force in self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan has the second lowest homicide (including attempted homicide) rate in the world. It has the highest life expectancy of any country (according to UN and WHO estimates) and the third lowest infant mortality rate.