This week's book giveaway is in the OCPJP forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide and have Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates on-line! See this thread for details.
Since <html:xxx> tags are tied to a property of the ActionForm, you can set a default for any <html:xxx> tag by setting the corresponding property in your ActionForm bean. For example, if you put the following statement in your Action class:
The default value in your <html:select property="birthPlace" > tag will be "Japan", provided "Japan" is one of the available options.