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June 19, 2024  

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Japan: Economy

Economy Japan
Economy - overview:
Government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (1% of GDP) helped Japan advance with extraordinary rapidity to the rank of second-most-technologically-powerful economy in the world after the US and third-largest economy after the US and China. One notable characteristic of the economy is the working together of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors in closely-knit groups called keiretsu. A second basic feature has been the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features are now eroding. Industry, the most important sector of the economy, is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. The much smaller agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among the highest in the world. Usually self-sufficient in rice, Japan must import about 50% of its requirements of other grain and fodder crops. Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch. For three decades overall real economic growth had been spectacular: a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s, and a 4% average in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of the aftereffects of overinvestment during the late 1980s and contractionary domestic policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Government efforts to revive economic growth have met with little success and were further hampered in 2000-2003 by the slowing of the US, European, and Asian economies. Japan's huge government debt, which is approaching 150% of GDP, and the ageing of the population are two major long-run problems. Robotics constitutes a key long-term economic strength with Japan possessing 410,000 of the world's 720,000 "working robots." Internal conflict over the proper way to reform the ailing banking system continues.
purchasing power parity - $3.651 trillion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0.2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $28,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 30.9%
services: 67.7% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.8%
highest 10%: 21.7% (1993)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
24.9 (1993)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-0.9% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
67.7 million (December 2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 70%, industry 25%, agriculture 5% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate:
5.4% (2002)
revenues: $441 billion
expenditures: $718 billion, including capital expenditures (public works only) of about $0 NA (FY 01/02 est.)
among world's largest and technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals; textiles, processed foods
Industrial production growth rate:
-1.4% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
1.037 trillion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 60%
hydro: 8.4%
other: 1.8% (2001)
nuclear: 29.8%
Electricity - consumption:
964.2 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
17,330 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
5.29 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
93,360 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
5.449 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
29.29 million bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
2.519 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
80.42 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
77.73 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
20.02 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit; pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs; fish
$383.8 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
motor vehicles, semiconductors, office machinery, chemicals
Exports - partners:
US 28.8%, China 9.6%, South Korea 6.9%, Taiwan 6.2%, Hong Kong 6.1% (2002)
$292.1 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials (2001)
Imports - partners:
China 18.3%, US 17.4%, South Korea 4.6%, Indonesia 4.2%, Australia 4.1% (2002)
Debt - external:
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $9.1 billion (1999)
yen (JPY)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
yen per US dollar - 125.39 (2002), 121.53 (2001), 107.77 (2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Also See:

Background & Country Profile
Transnational Issues & International Disputes


Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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