Post banner image

Japan: Twilight in The Land of The Rising Sun

21 Sep, 2022

Lying off the East Coast of Asia, the Island nation of Japan is full of contrasts and complexity. It is a land full of ancient cultural traditions where people have lived for over 30,000 years. After 1950, it rose almost overnight to become one of the largest and most developed economies of all. Today it is the most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index. This is due to the exports and manufacturing of sophisticated and specific machineries. The country is also home to 10% of all active volcanoes and is located at the junction of 4 tectonic plates. Natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes occur frequently in Japan.

Japanese people are conditioned from a young age to not create any nuisance for others. It is also the birthplace of some of the most creative modern artwork. Japanese popular culture like cuisine, anime, music, and games have taken the world by a storm. People are constantly awestruck by the novel heights of self expression that emerge from Japan.

While heavily globalized and widely capitalistic, less than 10% people are fluent in English. This contrast is perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the country.

Japan Export Overview

In 2020, Japan was the world’s biggest exporter of industrial machinery, construction vehicles, hot rolled iron, electrical capacitors, and disc chemicals for electronics. In August 2022, Japan recorded the 13th month in a row at a trade deficit. That makes it currently at a record high standing at 2.82 trillion Yen in deficit.

Despite a weaker yen as a result of stimulatory economic initiatives, export growth remains sluggish. The Trade Vision has extensive resources that inform traders of real-time trade developments in Japan. Exporters and importers across the world have expanded their operations using data and marketing intelligence reports from The Trade Vision.

Japan: Top Export Commodities

  1. Cars ($83.1 billion)
  2. Integrated Circuits ($31.3 billion)
  3. Motor Vehicles; Parts and Accessories ($28 billion)
  4. Machinery Having individual Functions ($19.9 billion)
  5. Photo Lab Equipment ($1.1 billion)

Japan: Top Export Countries

  1. China ($133 billion)
  2. United States ($112 billion)
  3. South Korea ($42.9 billion)
  4. Chinese Taipei ($42.7 billion)
  5. Hong Kong ($27.2 billion)

Japan Import Overview

Lacking local energy resources, Japan is one of the largest importers of oil and gas in the world. Until recently, it was the world’s biggest LNG importer but last year surrendered the number-one spot to China. The G7 recently agreed on a price cap for Russian oil exports. Being a member of the G7, Japan was exempt from this and continues importing oil and gas from Russia.

Imports are on the rise as high raw material prices continue and supply disruptions ease. The weaker Yen is boosting the cost of imports at a time of surging energy prices. Energy and Grain prices show signs of stabilizing but the impact of the drop in the yen is expected to continue for a while.

Japan: Top Import Commodities

  1. Crude Petroleum ($38.4 billion)
  2. Petroleum Gas ($31.4 billion)
  3. Integrated Circuits ($17.7 billion)
  4. Broadcasting Equipment ($17.5 billion)
  5. Computers ($14.5 billion)

Japan: Top Import Countries

  1. China ($151 billion)
  2. United States ($63.1 billion)
  3. Australia ($31.8 billion)
  4. South Korea ($25.1 billion)
  5. Chinese Taipei ($24.3 billion)

Japan: What’s In Store?

Japan’s international competitiveness has declined over the past few decades and its economic growth has stagnated. Japan is also facing a shrinking and aging population, which will further sap its economic vitality. In the wake of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s untimely demise, the country is navigating around his foreign policy.

Cost of living will continue to rise if imports rise without a change in the global economy. It will lead to the import of inflation to a country already facing a recession.

Amongst all of this, Japan is finally set to welcome unrestricted tourism from October after the pandemic. By resuming visa-free tourist travel, tourism revenue as well as foreign labor offers a ray of hope for the stagnant Economy.

Expand your business operations to Japan with assistance from The Trade Vision. We are an international trade research company, and we provide actionable analytics that steers clear of the noise.

Contact us now at or call +1(307)7573116, to get started.

Download The Trade Vision Mobile App to access data on the go.