Country Summary



Japan opened its ports in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power. 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.



total: 377,915 sq km
land: 364,485 sq km
water: 13,430 sq km


varies from tropical in south to cool temperate in north

Natural resources

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

People and Society


123,719,238 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Japanese 97.9%, Chinese 0.6%, Korean 0.4%, other 1.1% (includes Vietnamese, Filipino, and Brazilian) (2017 est.)




Shintoism 70.5%, Buddhism 67.2%, Christianity 1.5%, other 5.9% (2019 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.41% (2023 est.)


Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy


name: Tokyo

Executive branch

chief of state: Emperor NARUHITO (since 1 May 2019); note - succeeds his father who abdicated on 30 April 2019
head of government: Prime Minister Fumio KISHIDA (since 4 October 2021 )

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of:
House of Councillors or Sangi-in (248 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); note - the number of seats increased to 248 at the July 2022 election for renewal of half the membership
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)


Economic overview

fourth-largest, trade-oriented, and diversified economy; highly indebted country; slow wage growth and declining labor force; still heavily hydrocarbon-reliant; central bank keeping negative interest rates amid modest inflation; increased military spending; stagnant tourism sector

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$5.126 trillion (2021 est.)
$5.042 trillion (2020 est.)
$5.28 trillion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$40,800 (2021 est.)
$39,900 (2020 est.)
$41,700 (2019 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, milk, sugar beets, vegetables, eggs, poultry, potatoes, cabbages, onions, pork


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


0.11% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.1% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.09% of GDP (2019 est.)


$919.158 billion (2021 est.)
$794.291 billion (2020 est.)
$904.632 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

China 21%, US 18%, South Korea 7%, Taiwan 7%, Thailand 4% (2021)

Exports - commodities

cars and vehicle parts, integrated circuits, general machinery, photo lab equipment, construction vehicles, semiconductors  (2021)


$941.671 billion (2021 est.)
$801.889 billion (2020 est.)
$913.248 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

China 24%, US 10%, Australia 7%, South Korea 4%, Taiwan 4% (2021)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, integrated circuits, coal, refined petroleum, iron (2021)

Exchange rates

yen (JPY) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
109.754 (2021 est.)
106.775 (2020 est.)
109.01 (2019 est.)
110.423 (2018 est.)
112.166 (2017 est.)

Page last updated: Tuesday, September 26, 2023