There are only three sovereign countries whose names start with the letter J; Jamaica, Japan, and Jordan. These three countries, except for their first letters, differ in many ways. This article covers brief profiles of these countries, specifically on geography, politics, economic development, and the demographics of the three countries.
Jamaica (originally Xaymaca, meaning "Land of Springs" in Taíno) is a sovereign island state in the Caribbean and forms part of the Greater Antilles. This country is 90 miles to the south of Cuba and 119 miles to the west of Hispaniola. Entirely, Jamaica consists of three counties Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey. Jamaica is the 160th biggest country in the world with a total area of 4,244 square miles, 1.5% of which is water.
Jamaica’s capital is Kingston and the country’s official language is English, but its de facto national language is Jamaican Patois (Patwa or Creole) which is an English-based creole language that has a heavy West-African influence. 2016 data estimates the population of the country to be 2,881,355 people making it the 139th most populous nation on earth. The population density stood at 694.1 people per square mile thus being the 49th densely populated country. Data from 2014 indicate that the ethnic composition is 92.1% African, 6.1% Mixed race, 0.8% Indian, 0.4% other races, and the rest, 0.7%, were of unspecified races. Christianity is the religion of the majority with 68.9% adherents followed by those who are non-religious at 21.3%. Rastafarians make up 1.1% and a further 6.5% belong other religions. 2.3% of the country consider themselves religious, but do not know their exact religion.
Estimates indicated that the total GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) in 2016 stood at $25.437 billion representing a Per Capita of $8,991. The nominal GDP was $14.057 billion in total representing a Per Capita of $4,968. In 2015, the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) grouped Jamaica in the category of countries with High HDI ranking 94th globally with an HDI value of 0.730, a life expectancy of 75.8 years, 12.8 expected years of schooling and 9.6 mean years of schooling.
The Arawak and Taíno are the indigenous population before Jamaica came under Spanish rule in the late 1400s and early 1500s, and later under British rule before gaining independence from the UK in 1962. Jamaica is a member of the commonwealth realm under Queen Elizabeth II whom the Governor-General, currently Patrick Allen, represents. The country also practices a representative parliamentary democratic and constitutional monarchy. There is an appointed Senate and an elected House of Representatives. The Prime Minister and Cabinet of Jamaica exercise executive authority. Jamaica is in the UTC-5 Time Zone, drives on the left and uses the Jamaican Dollar (JMD).
Japan (Nihon or Nippon meaning "the origin of the Sun" in Japanese) is in East Asia and consists of groups of islands that are near eastern coasts of Korea, Russia, and China. Japan borders the Sea of Japan to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Tokyo is the capital and largest city of Japan. Japan has a total area of 145,936 square miles making it the 61st biggest nation.
The country has no official language but recognizes 11 languages, Japanese (an agglutinative language) being the de facto national language that has many dialects and used by close to 98% of the population. The standard dialect is the Tokyo Japanese. Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages belong to the Japonic language family but are not mutually intelligible. Other languages include Ainu, Orok, Evenki, and Nivkh among others. Japan’s ethnic groupings consist of 98.5% Japanese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Chinese, and 0.6% other races. 51.82% of the people subscribe to the Shinto religion, 34.9% are Buddhists, 4% belong to various Shinto sects, 2.3% are Christians, and 7.0% non-religious.
Japan is a constitutional monarchy in which the Emperor has ceremonial powers. The head of the government is the Prime Minister and the legislature (National Diet) consists of the House of Councillors (Upper House) and the House of Representatives (Lower House). There are four important days in Japan, the first being the National Foundation Day celebrated every February 11, to commemorate Japan’s 660 BC foundation. The second day is November 29, celebrating the Meiji Constitution of 1890. The third and fourth days are May 3, and April 28, celebrating the current constitution enacted in 1947 and the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952 respectively.
According to the 2017 Census, Japan has approximately 126,672,000 people, tenth highest population globally, and a population density of 870.2 people per square mile. This year, the total GDP (PPP) was $5.420 trillion and Per Capita was $42,860 while the total nominal GDP was $4.841 trillion with a Per Capita of $38,281. Japan has a very high HDI, ranking seventeenth globally with an HDI value of 0.903, a life expectancy of 83.7 years, 15.3 expected years of education, 12.5 mean years of schooling, and a GNI rank of position ten globally. Japan drives on the left, uses the Japanese Yen (JPY), and is in the UTC+9 Time Zone.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an Arab Nation in the Middle East, specifically Western Asia on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Jordan sits strategically at the crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe and it borders the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Jordan covers 34,495 square miles making it the 110th largest country globally. Amman is Jordan’s political, cultural, and economic capital in addition to being the most populous city.
2017 estimates indicated the population to be 10,011,820 and a population density of 277.1 people per square mile. The country’s official language is Arabic, and Arabs make up 98% of the population while the Circassians and Armenians make up 1% each. This small semi-arid nation is majorly Sunni Islam (92% of the population) and an indigenous Christian minority.
Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with the King as the Head of State and the Prime Minister as the Head of Government. The country has a bicameral National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma) of two chambers; the Chamber of Deputies (Majlis al-Nuwaab) made up of elected representatives and the Assembly of Senators (Majlis al-Aayan) made up of the King’s appointees.
Jordan remains a safe Arab country that manages to avoid terrorism and instability, accept a high number of refugees, remain a favorite tourist destination, and attracts foreign investors despite its meager natural resources. This country is an upper middle-income economy and has a high HDI. In 2016, the total GDP (PPP) was $86.193 billion with a Per Capita of $11,124 and the total nominal GDP was $39.453 billion with a Per Capita of $5,092. Jordan’s currency is the Dinar (JOD), the people drive on the right and is in the EET (UTC+2) Time Zone that changes to EEST (UTC+3) during summers.