Photos of Japan

Layers of green foliage along the shoreline of a Japanese garden.

Introduction

Background

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 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941, triggering America's entry into World War II, and Japan soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, the country 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 the decision-making power. After three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains an economic power. In 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake and an accompanying tsunami devastated the northeast part of Honshu, killed thousands, and damaged several nuclear power plants. ABE Shinzo was reelected as prime minister in 2012, and he embarked on ambitious economic and security reforms to improve Japan's economy and bolster the country's international standing. In 2019, ABE became Japan's longest-serving post-war prime minister; he resigned in 2020 and was succeeded by SUGA Yoshihide. KISHIDA Fumio became prime minister in 2021.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula

Geographic coordinates

36 00 N, 138 00 E

Area

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)

comparison ranking: total 63

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than California

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

29,751 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the international straits - La Perouse or Soya, Tsugaru, Osumi, and the Korea and Tsushima Straits

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Terrain

mostly rugged and mountainous

Elevation

highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m

lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m

mean elevation: 438 m

Natural resources

negligible mineral resources, fish; note - with virtually no natural energy resources, Japan is almost totally dependent on imported sources of energy

Land use

agricultural land: 12.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 68.5% (2018 est.)

other: 19% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

15,730 sq km (2014)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Biwa-ko 688 sq km

Population distribution

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

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"

Geography - note

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

note 2: a 2023 Geospatial Information Authority of Japan survey technically detected 100,000 islands and islets, but only the 14,125 islands with a circumference of at least 100 m (330 ft) were officially counted; only about 260 of the islands are inhabited

note 3: 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

Population

total: 123,201,945

male: 59,875,269

female: 63,326,676 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 11; male 11; total 11

Nationality

noun: Japanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Japanese

Ethnic groups

Japanese 97.5%, Chinese 0.6%, Vietnam 0.4%, South Korean 0.3%, other 1.2% (includes Filipino, Brazilian, Nepalese, Indonesian, American, and Taiwanese) (2022 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

Japanese

major-language sample(s):
必要不可欠な基本情報の源、ワールド・ファクトブック(Japanese)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Japanese audio sample:

Religions

Shintoism 48.6%, Buddhism 46.4%, Christianity 1.1%, other 4% (2021 est.)

note: total adherents among persons claiming a religious affiliation

Age structure

0-14 years: 12.1% (male 7,701,196/female 7,239,389)

15-64 years: 58.4% (male 36,197,840/female 35,777,966)

65 years and over: 29.5% (2024 est.) (male 15,976,233/female 20,309,321)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 71.1

youth dependency ratio: 20.1

elderly dependency ratio: 51

potential support ratio: 2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 49.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 48.3 years

female: 51.3 years

comparison ranking: total 3

Population growth rate

-0.43% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 218

Birth rate

6.9 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 225

Death rate

11.9 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 18

Net migration rate

0.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Population distribution

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

urban population: 92% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.25% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

37.194 million TOKYO (capital), 19.013 million Osaka, 9.569 million Nagoya, 5.490 million Kitakyushu-Fukuoka, 2.937 million Shizuoka-Hamamatsu, 2.666 million Sapporo (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.7 years (2018 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 173

Infant mortality rate

total: 1.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 1.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 222

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 85.2 years (2024 est.)

male: 82.3 years

female: 88.2 years

comparison ranking: total population 4

Total fertility rate

1.4 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 212

Gross reproduction rate

0.68 (2024 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

39.8% (2015)

note: percent of women aged 20-49

Drinking water source

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 99.1% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

10.9% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

2.48 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

13 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: NA

rural: NA

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

4.3% (2016)

comparison ranking: 186

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 8.36 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.35 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.29 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.63 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 5.09 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 39

Tobacco use

total: 20.1% (2020 est.)

male: 30.1% (2020 est.)

female: 10% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 89

Education expenditures

3.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 142

Literacy

total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 15 years

female: 15 years (2019)

Environment

Environment - current issues

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

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate

varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Land use

agricultural land: 12.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2018 est.)

forest: 68.5% (2018 est.)

other: 19% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 92% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: -0.25% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.02% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 138

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 137

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 10.84 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 1,135.89 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 29.99 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 43.981 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 2,155,069 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 4.9% (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Biwa-ko 688 sq km

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 14.8 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 10.3 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 53.3 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

430 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Geoparks

total global geoparks and regional networks: 10

global geoparks and regional networks: Aso UNESCO; Hakusan Tedorigawa; Itoigawa; Izu Peninsula; Mt. Apoi; Muroto; Oki Islands; San'in Kaigan; Toya - Usu; Unzen (2023)

Government

Country name

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

parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital

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

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

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

Birthday of Emperor NARUHITO, 23 February (1960); note - celebrates the birthday of the current emperor

Constitution

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

Legal system

civil law system based on German model; system also reflects Anglo-American influence and Japanese traditions; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

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

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Emperor NARUHITO (since 1 May 2019); note - succeeded his father who abdicated on 30 April 2019

head of government: Prime Minister Fumio KISHIDA (since 4 October 2021)

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

election results: 2021: Fumio KISHIDA reelected prime minister on 10 November 2021; upper house vote - Fumio KISHIDA (LDP) 141, Yukio EDANO (CDP) 60; lower house vote - Fumio KISHIDA 297, Yukio EDANO 108

Legislative branch

description: bicameral National Diet or Kokkai consists of:
House of Councillors or Sangi-in (248 seats; 148 members directly elected in multi-seat districts by simple majority vote and 100 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 Shuugi-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 up to 4-year terms)

elections: House of Councillors - last held on 10 July 2022 (next to be held in July 2025)
House of Representatives - last held on 31 October 2021 (next to be held by October 2025)

election results: House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party/grouping as of January 2024 - LDP 116, CDP-SDP 40, Komeito 27, JCP 11, Ishin-FEFA 21, DPFP 11, Reiwa 5, OW 2, NHK 2, independent 12; composition - men 182, women 66; percentage women 26.6%

House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party/grouping as of January 2024 - LDP 260, CDP 96, Ishin 41, Komeito 32, JCP 10, DPFP 7, Yushi no Kai 4, FEFA 4, Reiwa 3, independent 7; composition - men 416 men, women 48; percentage women 10.3%; note - total National Diet percentage women 16%

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

highest court(s): 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

Collaborative Party or The Party to Protect People from NHK or NHK Party [Ayaka OTSU (de jure) Takashi TACHIBANA (de facto)]
Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan or CDP [Kenta IZUMI]
Democratic Party for the People or DPFP or DPP [Yuichiro TAMAKI]
Free Education for All or FEFA [Seiji MAEHARA]
Japan Communist Party or JCP [Tomoko TAMURA]
Japan Innovation Party or Nippon Ishin no kai or Ishin [Nobuyuki BABA]
Komeito [Natsuo YAMAGUCHI]
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Fumio KISHIDA]
Okinawa Whirlwind or OW [N/A]
Reiwa Shinsengumi [Taro YAMAMOTO]
Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA]
Yūshi no Kai [Shuji KIRA]

International organization participation

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), Quad, SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNOOSA, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador YAMADA Shigeo (since 27 February 2024)

chancery: 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 238-6700

FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187

email address and website:
https://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/itprtop_en/index.html

consulate(s) general: Anchorage (AK), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver (CO), Detroit (MI), Hagatna (Guam), Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville (TN), New York, Portland (OR), San Francisco, Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), Seattle (WA)

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Rahm EMANUEL (since 25 March 2022)

embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420

mailing address: 9800 Tokyo Place, Washington DC  20521-9800

telephone: [81] (03) 3224-5000

FAX: [81] (03) 3224-5856

email address and website:
TokyoACS@state.gov

https://jp.usembassy.gov/

consulate(s) general: Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo

consulate(s): Fukuoka, Nagoya

Flag description

white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center

National symbol(s)

red sun disc, chrysanthemum; national colors: red, white

Kikumon – the Japanese Family Coat of Arms of the emperor:
Kikumon – the Japanese Family Coat of Arms of the emperor

National anthem

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 25 (20 cultural, 5 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area (c); Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (c); Himeji-jo (c); Shiretoko (n); Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan (c); Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape (c); Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan (c); Yakushima (n); Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (c); Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) (c)

Economy

Economic overview

fourth-largest economy; trade-oriented and highly diversified; high public debt levels; real wage declines in inflationary environment; sustained near-zero central bank rates coupled with depreciation of yen; strong rebound in tourism

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$5.21 trillion (2022 est.)
$5.157 trillion (2021 est.)
$5.049 trillion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 4

Real GDP growth rate

1.03% (2022 est.)
2.14% (2021 est.)
-4.28% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 188

Real GDP per capita

$41,600 (2022 est.)
$41,000 (2021 est.)
$40,000 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 47

GDP (official exchange rate)

$4.232 trillion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.5% (2022 est.)
-0.23% (2021 est.)
-0.02% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 38

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A (2015)

Moody's rating: A1 (2014)

Standard & Poors rating: A+ (2015)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 30.1% (2017 est.)

services: 68.7% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 78; industry 76; agriculture 197

GDP - composition, by end use

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.)

Agricultural products

rice, milk, sugar beets, vegetables, eggs, chicken, potatoes, cabbages, sugarcane, pork (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods

Industrial production growth rate

-1.25% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 186

Labor force

69.114 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 10

Unemployment rate

2.6% (2022 est.)
2.83% (2021 est.)
2.81% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 32

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 4.4% (2021 est.)

male: 4.6%

female: 4.1%

comparison ranking: total 191

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

32.9 (2013 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 124

Average household expenditures

on food: 16.7% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 3% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 26.4% (2013 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

0.13% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.11% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.1% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $1.756 trillion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $1.916 trillion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 148

Public debt

216.36% of GDP (2021 est.)
215.77% of GDP (2020 est.)
198.02% of GDP (2019 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 2

Taxes and other revenues

35.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 19

Current account balance

$90.963 billion (2022 est.)
$197.154 billion (2021 est.)
$150.029 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 7

Exports

$921.212 billion (2022 est.)
$920.639 billion (2021 est.)
$794.291 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 7

Exports - partners

US 19%, China 19%, South Korea 7%, Taiwan 7%, Thailand 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

cars, machinery, integrated circuits, vehicle parts/accessories, refined petroleum (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$1.08 trillion (2022 est.)
$942.45 billion (2021 est.)
$801.889 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 6

Imports - partners

China 22%, Australia 10%, US 10%, UAE 5%, Saudi Arabia 4% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, coal, integrated circuits, garments (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.228 trillion (2022 est.)
$1.406 trillion (2021 est.)
$1.391 trillion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 2

Debt - external

$4,254,271,000,000 (2019 est.)
$3,944,898,000,000 (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 7

Exchange rates

yen (JPY) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
131.498 (2022 est.)
109.754 (2021 est.)
106.775 (2020 est.)
109.01 (2019 est.)
110.423 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 348.666 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 903,698,740,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 44.094 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 156; exports 143; installed generating capacity 4; transmission/distribution losses 207; consumption 5

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 73.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 4.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 8.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 10% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 10 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 2

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 9.49GW (2023)

Percent of total electricity production: 7% (2018)

Percent of total energy produced: 24% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 17

Coal

production: 29.84 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 210.882 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 3.201 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 174.486 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 350 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 10,200 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 3,739,300 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 3,012,800 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 44.1 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

3.467 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 5

Refined petroleum products - exports

370,900 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 24

Refined petroleum products - imports

1.1 million bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 5

Natural gas

production: 1,928,431,000 cubic meters (2020 est.)

consumption: 102,108,738,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 28,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 105,255,103,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 20.898 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

note: Japan had been the largest global liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer until 2021 when it was exceeded by China; prior to 2021, Japan had been the largest importer of LNG for 51 years; Japan has the largest LNG storage tank capacity in the world, or about 643 million cubic feet (MMcf) as of early 2020; in 2019, Japan sourced 28% of its LNG imports from regional suppliers in Southeast Asia and 39% from Australia

Carbon dioxide emissions

1,103,234,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 439.243 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 444.271 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 219.72 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 5

Energy consumption per capita

147.107 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 35

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 60.721 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 49 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 3

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 207.648 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 168 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 8

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Japan has one of the best developed telecom markets globally, the fixed-line segment remains stagnant and the focus for growth is in the mobile sector; the MNOs have shifted their investment from LTE to 5G, and growth in 5G showed early promise although there have been recent setbacks; these have partly been attributed to the economic difficulties, the impact of restrictions imposed during the pandemic, and unfavorable investment climate (not helped by the delay of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021), and to restrictions in the supply of 5G-enabled devices; the fixed broadband market is dominated by fiber, with a strong cable platform also evident; fiber will continue to increase its share of the fixed broadband market, largely at the expense of DSL; the mobile market is dominated by three MNOs, mobile broadband subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years, partly due to the high existing subscriptions though growth has been stimulated by measures which have encouraged people to school and work from home; there has also been a boost in accessing entertainment via mobile devices since 2020 (2021)

domestic: 49 per 100 for fixed-line and 161 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2021)

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)

Broadcast media

a mixture of public and commercial broadcast TV and radio stations; 5 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 (2023)

Internet users

total: 99.6 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 83% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 8

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 44,000,791 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 3

Transportation

National air transport system

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 (2018) mt-km

Airports

279 (2024)

comparison ranking: 24

Heliports

2,839 (2024)

Pipelines

4,456 km gas, 174 km oil, 104 km oil/gas/water (2013)

Railways

total: 27,311 km (2015)

standard gauge: 4,800 km (2015) 1.435-m gauge (4,800 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 124 km (2015) 1.372-m gauge (124 km electrified)

dual gauge: 132 km (2015) 1.435-1.067-m gauge (132 km electrified)

22,207 km 1.067-mm gauge (15,430 km electrified)
48 km 0.762-m gauge (48 km electrified)

comparison ranking: total 11

Roadways

total: 1,218,772 km

paved: 992,835 km (includes 8,428 km of expressways)

unpaved: 225,937 km (2015)

comparison ranking: total 6

Waterways

1,770 km (2010) (seagoing vessels use inland seas)

comparison ranking: 46

Merchant marine

total: 5,229 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 166, container ship 49, general cargo 1,893, oil tanker 666, other 2,455

comparison ranking: total 4

Ports

total ports: 163 (2024)

large: 11

medium: 26

small: 54

very small: 71

size unknown: 1

ports with oil terminals: 99

key ports: Kawasaki Ko, Kobe, Mikawa, Nagasaki, Nagoya Ko, Onomichi-Itozaki, Osaka, Tokyo Ko, Wakamatsu Ko, Wakayama-Shimotsu Ko, Yokohama Ko

Military and Security

Military and security forces

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) (2024)

note: the Coast Guard is under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; it is barred by law from operating as a military force, but in times of conflict Article 80 of the 1954 Self-Defense Forces Act permits the transfer of control of the coast guard to the Ministry of Defense with Cabinet approval

Military expenditures

1.4% of GDP (2024 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2023)
1.1% of GDP (2022)
1% of GDP (2021)
1% of GDP (2020)

note: the Japanese Government in 2022 pledged to increase defense expenditures to 2% of GDP in line with NATO standards by March 2028; if the planned increase occurs, Japan would have the world's third largest defense budget

comparison ranking: 98

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 230-240,000 active personnel (145-150,000 Ground; 40-45,000 Maritime; 40-45,000 Air); 14,000 Coast Guard (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the JSDF is equipped with a mix of imported and domestically produced equipment; Japan has a robust defense industry and 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 (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-32 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2023)

note: as of 2023, women made up about 9% of the military's full-time personnel

Military deployments

approximately 200 Djibouti (2024)

Military - note

the Japan Self-Defense Force's (JSDF) primary concerns are perceived threats posed by China and North Korea, as well as protecting the country’s territorial waters, countering piracy and terrorism, and conducting humanitarian operations; it exercises regularly with the US military and increasingly with other regional countries, such as Australia; the ground forces are organized into 10 divisions and a number of independent brigades, which include airborne, air assault, and amphibious rapid reaction forces; the maritime force is one of the largest and most modern navies in the world; its principal warships include four helicopter carriers (two are undergoing conversion to light aircraft carriers), more than 40 destroyers and frigates, three landing platform/dock (LPD) amphibious assault ships, and more than 20 attack-type submarines; it also has a large force of maritime aircraft, including over 150 for anti-submarine warfare; the Air Self Defense Force has over 300 modern combat aircraft, as well as more than 200 other aircraft for surveillance, early warning, electronic warfare, search and rescue, transportation, and logistics

Japan’s alliance with the US (signed in 1951) is one of the cornerstones of the country’s security, as well as a large component of the US security role in Asia; approximately 55,000 US troops and other military assets, including aircraft and naval ships, are stationed in Japan and have exclusive use of more than 80 bases and facilities; in exchange for their use, the US guarantees Japan’s security; the Japanese Government provides about $2 billion per year to offset the cost of stationing US forces in Japan; in addition, it pays compensation to localities hosting US troops, rent for bases, and costs for new facilities to support the US presence; Japan also has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

Japan was disarmed after its defeat in World War II; shortly after the Korean War began in 1950, US occupation forces in Japan created a 75,000-member lightly armed force called the National Police Reserve; the JSDF was founded in 1954; Article 9 of Japan’s 1947 constitution renounced the use of force as a means of settling international disputes; however, Japan has interpreted Article 9 to mean that it can maintain a military for national defense purposes and, since 1991, has allowed the JSDF to participate in noncombat roles overseas in a number of UN peacekeeping missions and in the US-led coalition in Iraq; in 2014-2015, the Japanese Government reinterpreted the constitution as allowing for "collective self-defense," described as the use of force on others’ behalf if Japan’s security was threatened; in 2022, the government released three security policy documents that labeled China as an “unprecedented strategic challenge,” declared Japan’s intention to develop "counterstrike” capabilities, including cruise missiles and armed drones, and outlined plans to increase Japan’s security-related expenditures to 2% of its national gross domestic product (GDP), in line with NATO standards; post-war Japan generally has limited defense spending to 1% of its GDP (2023)

Space

Space agency/agencies

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA; established in 2003) (2024)

Space launch site(s)

Tanegashima Space Center/Yoshinobu Launch Complex (Kagoshima), Uchinoura Space Center (Kagoshima), Noshiro Testing Center (Akita) (2024)

Space program overview

has one of the world’s largest and most advanced space programs with independent capabilities in all areas of space categories except for autonomous manned space flight; designs, builds, launches, and operates the full spectrum of satellites, including communications, remote sensing (RS), astronomical observation, scientific, and navigational/positional; designs, builds, and independently launches satellite/space launch vehicles (SLVs) and other spacecraft, including interplanetary and Lunar probes, space station modules and space labs, and space transportation systems; has a wide range of research and development programs, including reusable SLVs, space-based astronomy, spacecraft components, robotics, solar sails, radio waves, and space plasma; has an astronaut training program; participates in international space programs, including the International Space Station (ISS), leading the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum, and co-leading the Global Earth Observation System of Systems; cooperates with a variety of foreign space agencies and industries, including those of Canada, the European Space Agency (ESA) and its individual member states, India, Russia, the UAE, the US, and a range of other countries and space agencies throughout Africa, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions; has a substantial commercial space industry that develops an array of space-related capabilities and technologies, including satellites, satellite payloads and subcomponents, and SLVs; in recent years, the Japanese Government has encouraged and supported the development of space startup companies  (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 531 (2022)