Japan - Economic Indicators

Macro Roundup: Japan’s Winning Streak Ends

May 25, 2018

The Japanese economy contracted in the first quarter, ending its longest run of expansion in decades. Unemployment is at decade lows, but sustained wage growth remains elusive. Japan’s near-term economic outlook remains positive, with GDP growth of 1% likely in 2018. By Japan’s standards, the economy had a strong year in 2017. GDP expanded at its fastest pace since 2013 as strong external demand, an improvement in consumer spending,...

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GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Private Consumption 2018 Q1 304,702 304,399 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Nominal Gross Domestic Product 2018 Q1 547,884 550,027 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Government Consumption 2018 Q1 107,387 107,296 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Real Private Consumption 2018 Q1 299,442 299,446 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2018 Q1 131,926 132,118 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Real Government Consumption 2018 Q1 106,218 106,182 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Real Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2018 Q1 127,106 127,503 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Real Gross Domestic Product 2018 Q1 533,079 533,908 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Investment 2016 125,452,800,000,000 126,842,000,000,000 NCU Annual
Real Investment 2016 123,605,144,381,400 124,002,601,193,700 NCU Annual
Price Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Producer Price Index (PPI) Apr 2018 100.4 100.3 Index 2015=100, NSA Monthly
Labor Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Total Employment Non-Ag Mar 2018 6,416 6,391 Ten Ths., NSA Monthly
Total Employment Mar 2018 6,694 6,646 Ten Thousand Persons, SA Monthly
Labor Force Employment Mar 2018 6,694 6,646 Ten Thousand Persons, SA Monthly
Labor Force Mar 2018 6,867 6,814 Ten Thousand Persons, SA Monthly
Unemployment Mar 2018 173 169 Ten Thousand Persons, SA Monthly
Unemployment Rate Mar 2018 2.5 2.5 Percent, SA Monthly
Real Wages & Salaries 2018 Q1 267,771 265,842 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Agriculture Employment 2017 2,457,819 2,473,232 # Annual
Wage & Salaries 2014 252,097,472 249,624,331 Mil. JPY Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Balance of Goods Apr 2018 549,957 169,982 Mil. Yen, SA Monthly
Exports of Goods Apr 2018 6,871,588 6,567,646 Mil. Yen, SA Monthly
Imports of Goods Apr 2018 6,321,631 6,397,664 Mil. Yen, SA Monthly
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2018 Q1 93,109 92,519 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Net Exports 2018 Q1 3,513 4,936 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2018 Q1 93,989 93,713 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Imports of Goods and Services 2018 Q1 96,797 95,269 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Exports of Goods and Services 2018 Q1 100,311 100,206 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Real Net Exports 2018 Q1 -879.5 -1,193 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Current Account Balance Mar 2018 17,722 9,631 100 Mil. JPY, SA Monthly
Government Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Outstanding Public Debt - Domestic Mar 2018 9,323,451 9,434,202 100 Mil. JPY, NSA Monthly
Outstanding Public Debt Mar 2018 10,878,130 10,990,006 100 Mil. JPY, NSA Monthly
Outstanding Public Debt - Foreign Mar 2018 0 0 100 Mil. JPY, NSA Monthly
Gross External Debt 2017 Q4 137,743 134,238 Bil. JPY, NSA Quarterly
Government Revenues 31 Mar 2015 189,539 179,132 Bil. JPY 365 days
Government Budget Balance 31 Mar 2015 -17,443 -25,431 Bil. JPY 365 days
Markets Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Stock Market Index 24 May 2018 22,437 22,689 Index, NSA Daily
Average Long-term Government Bond 24 May 2018 0.9 0.9 %, NSA Daily
Treasury Bills (over 31 days) Jun 2017 -0.1 -0.13 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Lending Rate Feb 2017 0.99 1 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Money Market Rate Apr 2016 0 0 %, NSA Monthly
Real Estate Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
House Price Index 2017:2 50.1 50.1 Index 2000=100 Annual
Dwelling Stocks 2013 60,631 Ths. # Annual
Consumer Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Consumer Confidence Apr 2018 43.6 44.3 Index, SA Monthly
Retail Sales Mar 2018 12,664 10,976 Bil. JPY, NSA Monthly
Business Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Business Confidence 2018 Q3 5.8 0.3 Diffusion Index, NSA Quarterly
Real Change in Inventories 2018 Q1 469.1 1,279 Bil. Ch. 2011 JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Change in Inventories 2018 Q1 353.3 1,248 Bil. JPY, SAAR Quarterly
Industrial Production Mar 2018 104.1 102.7 Index 2010=100, SA Monthly
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Population May 2018 1,264 1,265 Hundred Thousands, NSA Monthly
Births 2016 976,978 1,005,677 # Annual
Birth Rate 2016 7.8 8 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Deaths 2016 1,307,748 1,290,444 # Annual
Death Rate 2016 10.5 10.3 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Net Migration 2012 358,133 # Annual

Factbook

Background

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 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. The catastrophe hobbled the country's economy and its energy infrastructure, and tested its ability to deal with humanitarian disasters. 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.

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
Map references:
Asia
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)
country comparison to the world: 63
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than California
Area comparison map:
Land boundaries:
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 Eastern and Western Channels of the Korea or Tsushima Strait
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:
mean elevation: 438 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Hachiro-gata -4 m
highest point: Mount Fuji 3,776 m
Natural resources:
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:
agricultural land: 12.5%
arable land 11.7%; permanent crops 0.8%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 68.5%
other: 19% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
24,690 sq km (2012)
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
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
Environment - international agreements:
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:
strategic location in northeast Asia; composed of four main islands - from north Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu (the "Home Islands") - and 6,848 smaller islands and islets

People & Society

Population:
126,451,398 (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Nationality:
noun: Japanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Japanese
Ethnic groups:
Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
note: up to 230,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin migrated to Japan in the 1990s to work in industries; some have returned to Brazil (2004)
Languages:
Japanese
Religions:
Shintoism 79.2%, Buddhism 66.8%, Christianity 1.5%, other 7.1%
note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people practice both Shintoism and Buddhism (2012 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 12.84% (male 8,361,611/female 7,875,045)
15-24 years: 9.64% (male 6,417,085/female 5,778,904)
25-54 years: 37.5% (male 23,435,323/female 23,980,781)
55-64 years: 12.15% (male 7,692,424/female 7,665,157)
65 years and over: 27.87% (male 15,397,309/female 19,847,759) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 64
youth dependency ratio: 21.3
elderly dependency ratio: 42.7
potential support ratio: 2.3 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 47.3 years
male: 46 years
female: 48.7 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Population growth rate:
-0.21% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
Birth rate:
7.7 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 223
Death rate:
9.8 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
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: 94.3% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.15% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
TOKYO (capital) 38.001 million; Osaka-Kobe 20.238 million; Nagoya 9.406 million; Kitakyushu-Fukuoka 5.51 million; Shizuoka-Hamamatsu 3.369 million; Sapporo 2.571 million (2015)
Sex ratio:
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: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth:
30.7 years (2015 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
5 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Infant mortality rate:
total: 2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 2.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 1.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 224
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 85.3 years
male: 81.9 years
female: 88.8 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Total fertility rate:
1.41 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
40.4%
note: percent of women aged 20-49 (2015)
Health expenditures:
10.2% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 23
Physicians density:
2.3 physicians/1,000 population (2012)
Hospital bed density:
13.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source:
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
4.3% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 186
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
3.4% (2010)
Education expenditures:
3.8% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 115
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2014)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 5.1%
male: 5.7%
female: 4.5% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114

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)
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: 660 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)
National holiday:
Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933); note - celebrates the birthday of the current emperor
Constitution:
previous 1890; latest approved 6 October 1946, adopted 3 November 1946, effective 3 May 1947; note - the constitution has not been amended since its enactment in 1947 (2016)
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 AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Shinzo ABE (since 26 December 2012); 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:
description: bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the 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) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (475 seats; 295 members directly elected in single-seat districts by simple majority vote and 180 directly elected in multi-seat districts by party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms); note - Japan's amended electoral law, changed in May 2017, reduced the total number of House seats to 465 - the number of House of Representatives seats in single-seat districts is reduced to 289 and the number of House of Representatives seats in multi-seat districts reduced to 176; the change is effective for the December 2018 House of Representatives election
note: the Diet in June 2017 enacted a law - effective in mid-July - that redraws Japan's electoral district boundaries and reduces the current 275 seats in the House of Representatives to 265; the new law, which cuts 6 seats in single-seat districts and 4 in multi-seat districts, is reportedly intended to reduce voting disparities between densely and sparsely populated voting districts; this law will apply to the next election
elections: 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 22 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, New Hope 50, Komeito 29, JCP 12, JIP 11, SDP 2, independents 22
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:
Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan or CDP [Yukio EDANO]
Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ [Kohei OTSUKA]
Group of Reformists [Sakihito OZAWA]
Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]
Japan Innovation Party or JIP [Ichiro MATSUI]
Kibo no To or New Hope [Yuriko KOIKE]
Komeito [Natsuo YAMAGUCHI]
Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Shinzo ABE]
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]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: business groups; trade unions
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), SAARC (observer), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kenichiro SASAE (since 14 January 2013)
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 (HI), Houston, Las Vegas (NV), Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville (TN), New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City (OK), Orlando (FL), Philadelphia (PA), Phoenix (AZ), Portland (OR), San Francisco, Seattle, Saipan (Puerto Rico), Tamuning (Guam)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William F. "Bill" HAGERTY, IV (since 31 August 2017)
embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
mailing address: Unit 9800, Box 300, APO AP 96303-0300
telephone: [81] (03) 3224-5000
FAX: [81] (03) 3505-1862
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
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

Economy

Economy - overview:
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 2016 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 - a 10% average 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 entailed considerable time for firms 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 in 2013 on the basis of 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 necessity of addressing 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 another recession, so Prime Minister ABE has twice postponed the next increase, 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.
In October 2015, Japan and 11 trading partners reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a pact that had promised to open Japan's economy to increased foreign competition and create new export opportunities for Japanese businesses. Japan was the second country to ratify the TPP in December 2016; the United States signaled its withdrawal from the TPP on January 23, 2017, and as of April 2017 the agreement has not gone into effect.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$5.233 trillion (2016 est.)
$5.115 trillion (2015 est.)
$5.004 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 5
GDP (official exchange rate):
$4.937 trillion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2016 est.)
1.1% (2015 est.)
0.3% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$41,200 (2016 est.)
$40,800 (2015 est.)
$40,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 42
Gross national saving:
27.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
27% of GDP (2015 est.)
24.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 55.9%
government consumption: 19.8%
investment in fixed capital: 23.1%
investment in inventories: 0.2%
exports of goods and services: 16.1%
imports of goods and services: -15.2% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 1.1%
industry: 29.6%
services: 69.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products:
vegetables, rice, fish, poultry, fruit, dairy products, pork, beef, flowers, potatoes/taros/yams, sugarcane, tea, legumes, wheat and barley
Industries:
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:
1.2% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
Labor force:
66.73 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 26.2%
services: 70.9% (February 2015 est)
Unemployment rate:
3.1% (2016 est.)
3.4% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
Population below poverty line:
16.1% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 24.8% (2008)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
37.9 (2011)
24.9 (1993)
country comparison to the world: 73
Budget:
revenues: $1.684 trillion
expenditures: $1.909 trillion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
34.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-4.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Public debt:
222.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
219.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-0.1% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
Central bank discount rate:
0.3% (31 December 2015)
0.3% (31 December 2014)
country comparison to the world: 134
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
1.48% (31 December 2016 est.)
1.48% (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
Stock of narrow money:
$5.651 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.126 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Stock of broad money:
$8.023 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.537 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Stock of domestic credit:
$12.11 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$11.17 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$4.895 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.378 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.543 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Current account balance:
$188.1 billion (2016 est.)
$134.1 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Exports:
$634.9 billion (2016 est.)
$622 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Exports - commodities:
motor vehicles 14.9%; iron and steel products 5.4%; semiconductors 5%; auto parts 4.8%; power generating machinery 3.5%; plastic materials 3.3% (2014 est.)
Exports - partners:
US 20.2%, China 17.7%, South Korea 7.2%, Hong Kong 5.2%, Thailand 4.3% (2016)
Imports:
$583.5 billion (2016 est.)
$629.4 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Imports - commodities:
petroleum 16.1%; liquid natural gas 9.1%; clothing 3.8%; semiconductors 3.3%; coal 2.4%; audio and visual apparatus 1.4% (2014 est.)
Imports - partners:
China 25.8%, US 11.4%, Australia 5%, South Korea 4.1% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.217 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.233 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Debt - external:
$3.24 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$2.83 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$238.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$205.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.363 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.26 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Exchange rates:
yen (JPY) per US dollar -
108.76 (2016 est.)
108.76 (2015 est.)
121.02 (2014 est.)
97.44 (2013 est.)
79.79 (2012 est.)

Energy

Electricity access:
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
Electricity - production:
976.3 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Electricity - consumption:
933.6 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
322.2 million kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
59.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
12.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
15% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
Crude oil - production:
3,918 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
Crude oil - imports:
3.181 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Crude oil - proved reserves:
44.12 million bbl (1 January 2017 es)
country comparison to the world: 80
Refined petroleum products - production:
3.536 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
4.026 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Refined petroleum products - exports:
381,100 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
Refined petroleum products - imports:
1.141 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Natural gas - production:
4.453 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
Natural gas - consumption:
123.6 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
Natural gas - imports:
114.7 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Natural gas - proved reserves:
20.9 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
country comparison to the world: 76
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
1.257 billion Mt (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 64,024,938
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 51 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 164,265,142
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 130 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent domestic and international service
domestic: high level of modern technology and excellent service of every kind
international: country code - 81; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, 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 (2012)
Broadcast media:
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 (2012)
Internet country code:
.jp
Internet users:
total: 116,565,962
percent of population: 92.0% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5

Transportation

National air transport system:
number of registered air carriers: 23
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 627
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 113.762 million
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 8,868.745 million mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
JA (2016)
Airports:
175 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 33
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 142
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 45
1,524 to 2,437 m: 38
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 25 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 33
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 28 (2013)
Heliports:
16 (2013)
Pipelines:
gas 4,456 km; oil 174 km; oil/gas/water 104 km (2013)
Railways:
total: 27,311 km
standard gauge: 4,800 km 1.435-m gauge (4,800 km electrified)
dual gauge: 132 km 1.435-1.067-m gauge (132 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 124 km 1.372-m gauge (124 km electrified); 22,207 km 1.067-m gauge (15,430 km electrified); 48 km 0.762-m gauge (48 km electrified) (2015)
country comparison to the world: 11
Roadways:
total: 1,218,772 km
paved: 992,835 km (includes 8,428 km of expressways)
unpaved: 225,937 km (2015)
country comparison to the world: 6
Waterways:
1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 44
Merchant marine:
total: 684
by type: bulk carrier 168, cargo 34, carrier 3, chemical tanker 29, container 2, liquefied gas 58, passenger 11, passenger/cargo 117, petroleum tanker 152, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 52, vehicle carrier 54
registered in other countries: 3,122 (Bahamas 88, Bermuda 2, Burma 1, Cambodia 1, Cayman Islands 23, China 2, Cyprus 16, Honduras 4, Hong Kong 79, Indonesia 8, Isle of Man 19, Liberia 110, Luxembourg 3, Malaysia 2, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 59, Mongolia 2, Netherlands 1, Panama 2372, Philippines 77, Portugal 9, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Sierra Leone 4, Singapore 164, South Korea 14, Tanzania 1, UK 5, Vanuatu 39, unknown 7) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 16
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Chiba, Kawasaki, Kobe, Mizushima, Moji, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Tomakomai, Yokohama
container port(s) (TEUs): Kobe (2,707,000), Nagoya (2,631,000), Osaka (1,970,000), Tokyo (4,150,000), Yokohama (2,787,000) (2015)
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 & Security

Military expenditures:
0.93% of GDP (2016)
0.94% of GDP (2015)
0.96% of GDP (2014)
0.95% of GDP (2013)
0.97% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 102
Military branches:
Japanese Ministry of Defense (MOD): Ground Self-Defense Force (Rikujou Jieitai, GSDF), Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijou Jieitai, MSDF), Air Self-Defense Force (Koukuu Jieitai, ASDF) (2011)
Military service age and obligation:
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)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
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:
stateless persons: 626 (2016)

Economic Indicators for Japan including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the Japan economy.