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Japan:
Economy

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Economy - overview
Definition
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 the third-largest economy in the world after the US and China, measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. One notable characteristic of the economy has been how manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors have worked together 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 have now eroded. Japan's industrial sector is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. The tiny 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 55% of its food on a caloric basis. 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 after effects of overinvestment and an asset price bubble during the late 1980s that required a protracted period of time for firms to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor. From 2000 to 2001, government efforts to revive economic growth proved short lived and were hampered by the slowing of the US, European, and Asian economies. In 2002-07, growth improved and the lingering fears of deflation in prices and economic activity lessened, leading the central bank to raise interest rates to 0.25% in July 2006, up from the near 0% rate of the six years prior, and to 0.50% in February 2007. In addition, the 10-year privatization of Japan Post, which has functioned not only as the national postal delivery system but also, through its banking and insurance facilities as Japan's largest financial institution, was completed in October 2007, marking a major milestone in the process of structural reform. Nevertheless, Japan's huge government debt, which totals 182% of GDP, and the aging of the population are two major long-run problems. Some fear that a rise in taxes could endanger the current economic recovery. Debate also continues on the role of and effects of reform in restructuring the economy, particularly with respect to increasing income disparities.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
Definition - World rank and map
$4.29 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
Definition
$4.384 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
Definition - World rank and map
2.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita
Definition - World rank and map
$33,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
Definition
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 26.5%
services: 72% (2007 est.)
Labor force
Definition
66.69 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
Definition
agriculture: 4.6%
industry: 27.8%
services: 67.7% (2004)
Unemployment rate
Definition - World rank and map
3.9% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line
Definition
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share
Definition
lowest 10%: 4.8%
highest 10%: 21.7% (1993)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
Definition - World rank and map
38.1 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
Definition - World rank and map
0% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed)
Definition - World rank and map
23.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget
Definition
revenues: $1.448 trillion
expenditures: $1.597 trillion (2007 est.)
Public debt
Definition - World rank and map
195.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products
Definition
rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit; pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs; fish
Industries
Definition
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
Definition - World rank and map
1.3% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production
Definition - World rank and map
1.025 trillion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
974.2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption per capita
Definition - World rank and map
7,653.5 kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports
Definition
0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports
Definition
0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production
Definition - World rank and map
125,000 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
5.353 million bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption per 1,000 people
Definition - World rank and map
42.1 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - exports
Definition - World rank and map
94,830 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports
Definition - World rank and map
5.425 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves
Definition - World rank and map
58.5 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production
Definition - World rank and map
4.85 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
83.67 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption per capita
Definition - World rank and map
657 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports
Definition - World rank and map
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports
Definition - World rank and map
77.6 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves
Definition - World rank and map
38.02 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance
Definition - World rank and map
$212.8 billion (2007 est.)
Exports
Definition - World rank and map
$676.9 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities
Definition
transport equipment, motor vehicles, semiconductors, electrical machinery, chemicals
Exports - partners
Definition
US 20.4%, China 15.3%, South Korea 7.6%, Taiwan 6.3%, Hong Kong 5.4% (2006)
Imports
Definition - World rank and map
$572.4 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities
Definition
machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials
Imports - partners
Definition
China 20.5%, US 11.6%, Saudi Arabia 5.7%, UAE 5.2%, Australia 5%, South Korea 4.4%, Indonesia 4.2% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
Definition - World rank and map
$954.1 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external
Definition - World rank and map
$1.492 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
Definition
$109 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
Definition
$527.8 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
Definition
$4.737 trillion (2005)
Economic aid - donor
Definition
ODA, $11.19 billion (2006)
Currency (code)
Definition
yen (JPY)
Exchange rates
Definition
yen per US dollar - 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006), 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003)
Fiscal year
Definition
1 April - 31 March


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