Question 1: In how many countries is Japanese an official language?

Question 2: Name the country (-ies).

The answer might surprise you!

The answer to the first question is one. Which country is it, though?

If you guessed Japan, score no points for the second question. Japanese is de facto the national language of Japan, but that isn’t actually codified anywhere in the law of Japan.

In case that’s hard to believe, here’s a supporting excerpt from a Ministry of Foreign Affairs document:

例えば公用語、日本には公用語というのは実はないわけでございますけれども ...

Roughly translated:

For example, Japan does not in fact have an official language …

However, I’ve already stated that there is, in fact, one place in the world where Japanese is the second language:

It’s Palau—specifically, the island of Angaur, which forms one state of the Republic of Palau.

Weird, huh?