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East Asia/Southeast Asia :: Japan Print
Page last updated on November 24, 2020
  • Introduction :: Japan
  • Background field listing

    In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains an economic power. In March 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killed thousands, and damaged several nuclear power plants. Prime Minister Shinzo ABE was reelected to office in December 2012, and has since embarked on ambitious economic and security reforms to improve Japan's economy and bolster the country's international standing. In November 2019, ABE became Japan's longest-serving post-war prime minister.

  • Geography :: Japan
  • Location field listing
    Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    36 00 N, 138 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Area field listing
    total: 377,915 sq km
    land: 364,485 sq km
    water: 13,430 sq km

    note: includes Bonin Islands (Ogasawara-gunto), Daito-shoto, Minami-jima, Okino-tori-shima, Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), and Volcano Islands (Kazan-retto)

    country comparison to the world: 63
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly smaller than California
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    29,751 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    Climate field listing
    varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north
    Terrain field listing
    mostly rugged and mountainous
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 438 m
    lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
    highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m
    Natural resources field listing
    negligible mineral resources, fish, note, with virtually no natural energy resources, Japan is the world's largest importer of coal and liquefied natural gas, as well as the second largest importer of oil
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 12.5% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 11.7% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 68.5% (2011 est.)
    other: 19% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    24,690 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    all primary and secondary regions of high population density lie on the coast; one-third of the population resides in and around Tokyo on the central plain (Kanto Plain)
    Natural hazards field listing

    many dormant and some active volcanoes; about 1,500 seismic occurrences (mostly tremors but occasional severe earthquakes) every year; tsunamis; typhoons

    volcanism: both Unzen (1,500 m) and Sakura-jima (1,117 m), which lies near the densely populated city of Kagoshima, have been deemed Decade Volcanoes by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Asama, Honshu Island's most active volcano, Aso, Bandai, Fuji, Iwo-Jima, Kikai, Kirishima, Komaga-take, Oshima, Suwanosejima, Tokachi, Yake-dake, and Usu; see note 2 under "Geography - note"

    Environment - current issues field listing
    air pollution from power plant emissions results in acid rain; acidification of lakes and reservoirs degrading water quality and threatening aquatic life; Japan is one of the largest consumers of fish and tropical timber, contributing to the depletion of these resources in Asia and elsewhere; following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan originally planned to phase out nuclear power, but it has now implemented a new policy of seeking to restart nuclear power plants that meet strict new safety standards; waste management is an ongoing issue; Japanese municipal facilities used to burn high volumes of trash, but air pollution issues forced the government to adopt an aggressive recycling policy
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing

    note 1: strategic location in northeast Asia; composed of four main islands - from north: Hokkaido, Honshu (the largest and most populous), Shikoku, and Kyushu (the "Home Islands") - and 6,848 smaller islands and islets

    note 2: Japan annually records the most earthquakes in the world; it is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

  • People and Society :: Japan
  • Population field listing
    125,507,472 (July 2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Japanese
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Japanese 98.1%, Chinese 0.5%, Korean 0.4%, other 1% (includes Filipino, Vietnamese, and Brazilian) (2016 est.)

    note: data represent population by nationality; up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil

    Languages field listing
    Religions field listing
    Shintoism 70.4%, Buddhism 69.8%, Christianity 1.5%, other 6.9% (2015 est.)

    note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people practice both Shintoism and Buddhism

    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 12.49% (male 8,047,183/female 7,623,767)
    15-24 years: 9.47% (male 6,254,352/female 5,635,377)
    25-54 years: 36.8% (male 22,867,385/female 23,317,140)
    55-64 years: 12.06% (male 7,564,067/female 7,570,732)
    65 years and over: 29.18% (male 16,034,973/female 20,592,496) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 69
    youth dependency ratio: 21
    elderly dependency ratio: 48
    potential support ratio: 2.1 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 48.6 years
    male: 47.2 years
    female: 50 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Population growth rate field listing
    -0.27% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    Birth rate field listing
    7.3 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 226
    Death rate field listing
    10.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    Net migration rate field listing
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Population distribution field listing
    all primary and secondary regions of high population density lie on the coast; one-third of the population resides in and around Tokyo on the central plain (Kanto Plain)
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 91.8% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: -0.14% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030: PDF
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    37.393 million TOKYO (capital), 19.165 million Osaka, 9.552 million Nagoya, 5.29 million Kitakyushu-Fukuoka, 2.922 million Shizuoka-Hamamatsu, 2.670 million Sapporo (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    30.7 years (2015 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    5 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 1.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 2.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 1.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 226
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 86 years
    male: 82.7 years
    female: 89.5 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Total fertility rate field listing
    1.43 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    39.8% (2015)

    note: percent of women aged 20-49

    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: total: 100% of population
    unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    10.9% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    2.41 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    13.1 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: total: 100% of population
    unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est. est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    <.1% (2018 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    30,000 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    <200 (2017 est.)
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    Covid-19 (see note) (2020)
    note: clusters of cases of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (COVID-19) in Japan; illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe with fatalities reported; as of 10 November 2020, Japan has reported 107,086 confirmed cases of COVID19 with 1,812 deaths; the US Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory recommending increased caution in Japan due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended postponing nonessential international travel at this time and published additional guidance at ; on 25 May 2020, Japan ended its state of emergency
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    4.3% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    3.4% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    Education expenditures field listing
    3.5% of GDP (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 15 years
    male: 15 years
    female: 15 years (2016)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 3.6%
    male: 4.1%
    female: 3.1% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
  • Government :: Japan
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Japan
    local long form: Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku
    local short form: Nihon/Nippon
    etymology: the English word for Japan comes via the Chinese name for the country "Cipangu"; both Nihon and Nippon mean "where the sun originates" and are frequently translated as "Land of the Rising Sun"
    Government type field listing
    parliamentary constitutional monarchy
    Capital field listing
    name: Tokyo
    geographic coordinates: 35 41 N, 139 45 E
    time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: originally known as Edo, meaning "estuary" in Japanese, the name was changed to Tokyo, meaning "eastern capital," in 1868
    Administrative divisions field listing
    47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gunma, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Oita, Okayama, Okinawa, Osaka, Saga, Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tokyo, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi
    Independence field listing
    3 May 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution); notable earlier dates: 11 February 660 B.C. (mythological date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)
    National holiday field listing
    Birthday of Emperor NARUHITO, 23 February (1960); note - celebrates the birthday of the current emperor
    Constitution field listing
    history: previous 1890; latest approved 6 October 1946, adopted 3 November 1946, effective 3 May 1947
    amendments: proposed by the Diet; passage requires approval by at least two-thirds majority of both houses of the Diet and approval by majority in a referendum; note - the constitution has not been amended since its enactment in 1947
    International law organization participation field listing
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Japan
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: Emperor NARUHITO (since 1 May 2019); note - succeeds his father who abdicated on 30 April 2019
    head of government: Prime Minister Yoshihide SUGA (since 16 September 2020 ); Deputy Prime Minister Taro ASO (since 26 December 2012)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
    elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of:
    House of Councillors or Sangi-in (242 seats; 146 members directly elected in multi-seat districts by simple majority vote and 96 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with half the membership renewed every 3 years)
    House of Representatives or Shugi-in (465 seats; 289 members directly elected in single-seat districts by simple majority vote and 176 directly elected in multi-seat districts by party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
    House of Councillors - last held on 10 July 2016 (next to be held in July 2019)
    House of Representatives - last held on 22 October 2017 (next to be held by 21 October 2021)
    election results:
    House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LDP 55, DP 32, Komeito 14, JCP 6, Osaka Ishin no Kai (Initiatives from Osaka) 7, PLPTYF 1, SDP 1, independent 5
    House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LDP 284, CDP 55, Party of Hope 50, Komeito 29, JCP 12, JIP 11, SDP 2, independent 22
    note: the Diet in June 2017 redrew Japan's electoral district boundaries and reduced from 475 to 465 seats in the House of Representatives; the amended electoral law, which cuts 6 seats in single-seat districts and 4 in multi-seat districts, was reportedly intended to reduce voting disparities between densely and sparsely populated voting districts
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court or Saiko saibansho (consists of the chief justice and 14 associate justices); note - the Supreme Court has jurisdiction in constitutional issues
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice designated by the Cabinet and appointed by the monarch; associate justices appointed by the Cabinet and confirmed by the monarch; all justices are reviewed in a popular referendum at the first general election of the House of Representatives following each judge's appointment and every 10 years afterward
    subordinate courts: 8 High Courts (Koto-saiban-sho), each with a Family Court (Katei-saiban-sho); 50 District Courts (Chiho saibansho), with 203 additional branches; 438 Summary Courts (Kani saibansho)
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan or CDP [Yukio EDANO]
    Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ [Kohei OTSUKA]
    Group of Reformists [Sakihito OZAWA]
    Initiatives from Osaka (Osaka Ishin no kai) [Ichiro MATSUI]
    Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]
    Japan Innovation Party or JIP [Ichiro MATSUI]
    Party of Hope or Kibo no To [Yuichiro TAMAKI]
    Komeito [Natsuo YAMAGUCHI]
    Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Yoshihide SUGA]
    Liberal Party [Ichiro OZAWA] (formerly People's Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends or PLPTYF)New Renaissance Party [Hiroyuki ARAI]
    Party for Japanese Kokoro or PJK [Masashi NAKANO]Social Democratic Party or SDP [Tadatomo YOSHIDA]The Assembly to Energize Japan and the Independents [Kota MATSUDA]
    International organization participation field listing
    ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CICA (observer), CP, CPLP (associate), EAS, EBRD, EITI (implementing country), FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Shinsuke SUGIYAMA (since 28 March 2018) (2018)
    chancery: 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 238-6700
    FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187
    consulate(s) general: Anchorage (AK), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver (CO), Detroit (MI), Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas (NV), Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville (TN), New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City (OK), Orlando (FL), Philadelphia, Phoenix (AZ), Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle, Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), Tamuning (Guam)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Joseph M. YOUNG (since 22 July 2019)
    telephone: [81] (03) 3224-5000
    embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
    mailing address: Unit 9800, Box 300, APO AP 96303-0300
    FAX: [81] (03) 3505-1862
    consulate(s) general: Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo
    consulate(s): Fukuoka, Nagoya
    Flag description field listing
    white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center
    National symbol(s) field listing
    red sun disc, chrysanthemum; national colors: red, white
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Kimigayo" (The Emperor"s Reign)
    lyrics/music: unknown/Hiromori HAYASHI

    note: adopted 1999; unofficial national anthem since 1883; oldest anthem lyrics in the world, dating to the 10th century or earlier; there is some opposition to the anthem because of its association with militarism and worship of the emperor

  • Economy :: Japan
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Over the past 70 years, government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (slightly less than 1% of GDP) have helped Japan develop an advanced economy. Two notable characteristics of the post-World War II economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features have significantly eroded under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.

    Measured on a purchasing power parity basis that adjusts for price differences, Japan in 2017 stood as the fourth-largest economy in the world after first-place China, which surpassed Japan in 2001, and third-place India, which edged out Japan in 2012. For three postwar decades, overall real economic growth was impressive - averaging 10% in the 1960s, 5% in the 1970s, and 4% in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of the aftereffects of inefficient investment and the collapse of an asset price bubble in the late 1980s, which resulted in several years of economic stagnation as firms sought to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor. Modest economic growth continued after 2000, but the economy has fallen into recession four times since 2008.

    Japan enjoyed an uptick in growth since 2013, supported by Prime Minister Shinzo ABE’s "Three Arrows" economic revitalization agenda - dubbed "Abenomics" - of monetary easing, "flexible" fiscal policy, and structural reform. Led by the Bank of Japan’s aggressive monetary easing, Japan is making modest progress in ending deflation, but demographic decline – a low birthrate and an aging, shrinking population – poses a major long-term challenge for the economy. The government currently faces the quandary of balancing its efforts to stimulate growth and institute economic reforms with the need to address its sizable public debt, which stands at 235% of GDP. To help raise government revenue, Japan adopted legislation in 2012 to gradually raise the consumption tax rate. However, the first such increase, in April 2014, led to a sharp contraction, so Prime Minister ABE has twice postponed the next increase, which is now scheduled for October 2019. Structural reforms to unlock productivity are seen as central to strengthening the economy in the long-run.

    Scarce in critical natural resources, Japan has long been dependent on imported energy and raw materials. After the complete shutdown of Japan’s nuclear reactors following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, Japan's industrial sector has become even more dependent than before on imported fossil fuels. However, ABE’s government is seeking to restart nuclear power plants that meet strict new safety standards and is emphasizing nuclear energy’s importance as a base-load electricity source. In August 2015, Japan successfully restarted one nuclear reactor at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima prefecture, and several other reactors around the country have since resumed operations; however, opposition from local governments has delayed several more restarts that remain pending. Reforms of the electricity and gas sectors, including full liberalization of Japan’s energy market in April 2016 and gas market in April 2017, constitute an important part of Prime Minister Abe’s economic program.

    Under the Abe Administration, Japan’s government sought to open the country’s economy to greater foreign competition and create new export opportunities for Japanese businesses, including by joining 11 trading partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Japan became the first country to ratify the TPP in December 2016, but the United States signaled its withdrawal from the agreement in January 2017. In November 2017 the remaining 11 countries agreed on the core elements of a modified agreement, which they renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Japan also reached agreement with the European Union on an Economic Partnership Agreement in July 2017, and is likely seek to ratify both agreements in the Diet this year.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $5.443 trillion (2017 est.)
    $5.35 trillion (2016 est.)
    $5.299 trillion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 4
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $4.873 trillion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    0.7% (2019 est.)
    0.29% (2018 est.)
    2.19% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $42,900 (2017 est.)
    $42,100 (2016 est.)
    $41,700 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 42
    Gross national saving field listing
    28% of GDP (2017 est.)
    27.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
    27.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 55.5% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 19.6% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 24% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 17.7% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -16.8% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 1.1% (2017 est.)
    industry: 30.1% (2017 est.)
    services: 68.7% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    vegetables, rice, fish, poultry, fruit, dairy products, pork, beef, flowers, potatoes/taros/yams, sugarcane, tea, legumes, wheat and barley
    Industries field listing
    among world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    1.4% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Labor force field listing
    66.54 million (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 2.9%
    industry: 26.2%
    services: 70.9% (February 2015 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    2.36% (2019 est.)
    2.44% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    Population below poverty line field listing
    16.1% (2013 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 2.7%
    highest 10%: 24.8% (2008)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 1.714 trillion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 1.885 trillion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    35.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -3.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Public debt field listing
    237.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
    235.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    Fiscal year field listing
    1 April - 31 March
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    0.5% (2017 est.)
    -0.1% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    Current account balance field listing
    $185.644 billion (2019 est.)
    $177.08 billion (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Exports field listing
    $688.9 billion (2017 est.)
    $634.9 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Exports - partners field listing
    US 19.4%, China 19%, South Korea 7.6%, Hong Kong 5.1%, Thailand 4.2% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    14.9 motor vehicles5.4 iron and steel products5 semiconductors4.8 auto parts3.5 power generating machinery3.3 plastic materials (2014 est.)
    Imports field listing
    $644.7 billion (2017 est.)
    $584.7 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Imports - commodities field listing
    16.1 petroleum9.1 liquid natural gas3.8 clothing3.3 semiconductors2.4 coal1.4 audio and visual apparatus (2014 est.)
    Imports - partners field listing
    China 24.5%, US 11%, Australia 5.8%, South Korea 4.2%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $1.264 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.233 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Debt - external field listing
    $3.24 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
    $2.83 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Exchange rates field listing
    yen (JPY) per US dollar -
    111.1 (2017 est.)
    108.76 (2016 est.)
    108.76 (2015 est.)
    121.02 (2014 est.)
    97.44 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Japan
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2020)
    Electricity - production field listing
    989.3 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    943.7 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    295.9 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    71% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    20% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    Crude oil - production field listing
    3,200 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    3.208 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    44.12 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    3.467 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    3.894 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    370,900 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    1.1 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Natural gas - production field listing
    3.058 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    127.2 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    169.9 million cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    116.6 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    20.9 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    1.268 billion Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
  • Communications :: Japan
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 62,775,494
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 49.88 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 175,187,425
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 139.2 (2019 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: excellent domestic and international service; exceedingly high mobile, mobile broadband and fixed broadband penetration; strong govt. policies for over a decade see over 90% of households with FttX; one of Japan's largest e-commerce companies planning to build its own nationwide stand-alone 5G mobile network; govt. to implement a telecom tax to pay for rural 5G network; FttH will continue to increase its share of total fixed broadband subscriptions as DSL is phased out; mature telecom system will show slow growth in the next few years to 2024 (2020)
    domestic: high level of modern technology and excellent service of every kind; 50 per 100 for fixed-line and 140 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)
    international: country code - 81; numerous submarine cables with landing points for HSCS, JIH, RJCN, APCN-2, JUS, EAC-C2C, PC-1, Tata TGN-Pacific, FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop, APCN-2, FASTER, SJC, SJC2, Unity/EAC-Pacific, JGA-N, APG, ASE, AJC, JUPITER, MOC, Okinawa Cellular Cable, KJCN, GOKI, KJCN, and SeaMeWE-3, submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and US; satellite earth stations - 7 Intelsat (Pacific and Indian Oceans), 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region), 2 Inmarsat (Pacific and Indian Ocean regions), and 8 SkyPerfect JSAT (2019)
    note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    a mixture of public and commercial broadcast TV and radio stations; 6 national terrestrial TV networks including 1 public broadcaster; the large number of radio and TV stations available provide a wide range of choices; satellite and cable services provide access to international channels (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 106,725,643
    percent of population: 84.59% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 41,496,293
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 33 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
  • Transportation :: Japan
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 22 (2020)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 673
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 126,387,527 (2018)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 9,420,660,000 mt-km (2018)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    JA (2016)
    Airports field listing
    175 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 142 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 6 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 45 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 38 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 28 (2017)
    under 914 m: 25 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 33 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 5 (2013)
    under 914 m: 28 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    16 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    4456 km gas, 174 km oil, 104 km oil/gas/water (2013)
    Railways field listing
    total: 27,311 km (2015)
    standard gauge: 4,800 km 1.435-m gauge (4,800 km electrified) (2015)
    narrow gauge: 124 km 1.372-m gauge (124 km electrified) (2015)
    dual gauge: 132 km 1.435-1.067-m gauge (132 km electrified) (2015)
    22,207 km 1.067-m gauge (15,430 km electrified)
    48 km 0.762-m gauge (48 km electrified)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Roadways field listing
    total: 1,218,772 km (2015)
    paved: 992,835 km (includes 8,428 km of expressways) (2015)
    unpaved: 225,937 km (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Waterways field listing
    1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 5,017
    by type: bulk carrier 158, container ship 37, general cargo 1,767, oil tanker 661, other 2,394 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Chiba, Kawasaki, Kobe, Mizushima, Moji, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Tomakomai, Yokohama
    container port(s) (TEUs): Kobe (2,924,179), Nagoya (2,784,109), Osaka (2,326,852), Tokyo (4,500,156), Yokohama (2,926,698) (2017)
    LNG terminal(s) (import): Chita, Fukwoke, Futtsu, Hachinone, Hakodate, Hatsukaichi, Higashi Ohgishima, Higashi Niigata, Himeiji, Joetsu, Kagoshima, Kawagoe, Kita Kyushu, Mizushima, Nagasaki, Naoetsu, Negishi, Ohgishima, Oita, Sakai, Sakaide, Senboku, Shimizu, Shin Minato, Sodegaura, Tobata, Yanai, Yokkaichi
    Okinawa - Nakagusuku
  • Military and Security :: Japan
  • Military and security forces field listing
    Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF): Ground Self-Defense Force (Rikujou Jieitai, GSDF; includes aviation), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijou Jieitai, MSDF; includes naval aviation), Air Self-Defense Force (Koukuu Jieitai, ASDF); Japan Coast Guard (Ministry of Land, Transport, Infrastructure and Tourism) (2019)
    Military expenditures field listing
    0.93% of GDP (2019)
    0.93% of GDP (2018)
    0.93% of GDP (2017)
    0.94% of GDP (2016)
    0.94% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing

    the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) is comprised of approximately 240,000 active personnel (145,000 Ground; 45,000 Maritime; 45,000 Air; 4,000 Joint Forces); 14,000 Coast Guard; 56,000 reserves

    (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the JSDF is equipped with a mix of imported and domestically-produced equipment; Japan is capable of producing a wide range of air, ground, and naval weapons systems; the majority of its weapons imports are from the US and some domestically-produced weapons are US-origin and manufactured under license (2019)
    Military deployments field listing
    approximately 170 Djibouti (2020 )
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; mandatory retirement at age 53 for senior enlisted personnel and at 62 years for senior service officers (2012)
  • Terrorism :: Japan
  • Terrorist group(s) field listing
    Aum Shinrikyo (AUM/Aleph) (2019)
    note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T
  • Transnational Issues :: Japan
  • Disputes - international field listing

    the sovereignty dispute over the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan, and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the "Northern Territories" and in Russia as the "Southern Kuril Islands," occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities; Japan and South Korea claim Liancourt Rocks (Take-shima/Tok-do) occupied by South Korea since 1954; the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan

    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    stateless persons: 687 (2019)