What Are The Biggest Industries In Japan?

Japan has a thriving manufacturing industry.


Japan has a market-oriented and highly developed economy, and it is the 3rd nation with the largest nominal GDP and ranks as the 4th largest in GDP based on purchasing power parity. The country has a second most developed economy in the world, and is a member of the Group of Seven (G7) countries. According to IMF, the Japan is world’s 28th with highest GDP (PPP) at $37,519 as of 2014. Japan also is the 3rd largest manufacturer of automobile and has the largest electronics and goods industries where it has consistently ranked among the top countries in the world leading in different measures such as patent filings. Presently, Japan has focused in the manufacture of precision and high-tech items such as hybrid vehicles, robotics, and optical instruments. The country diversified because it has faced severe competition from the neighboring countries of South Korea and China. Some of the leading industrial regions in Japan include Kanto and the Kansai region, besides there are many other cluster manufacturing centers spread across the island of Japan. The country is now the largest creditor country in the world has consistently run a trade surplus and international investment surplus. By 2010 the country had 13.7% of all private financial assets in the world valued at $13.5 trillion ranking as the third largest. By 2015 Japan was home to 254 of the fortune global 500 companies, and this was a drop from Position 62 in 2013.The ratio of public debt to GDP in Japan is among the highest of all the developed countries in the world and the national debt in the country is mostly owned by the Japanese national.


Japan is one of the largest producers of rice and as such the countryside is dotted with paddy fields.

Agriculture in Japan plays a significant role and contributes approximately 1.4% of the national GDP and about 12% of the land in the country is appropriate for farming. The country lacks arable land, and therefore the terrace system is utilized in small areas. As a result of these, Japan has the highest level of crop output per unit area in the world and a total agricultural self-sufficiency ratio of approximately 50% on less than 14 million acres of cultivated land. The Japanese small-holder agricultural sector is extremely protected and subsidized by the government with several regulations and legislation favoring small-scale farming as opposed to extensive farming as is the case in other regions like North America. Japan has an aging population, and this has been a concern because of the majority of the small-scale farmers the aged. Rice in Japan accounts for almost all of the country’s cereal production and the country is the world’s 2nd biggest importer of agricultural products. Rice is the most protected agricultural crop in Japan, and it is subject tariffs of up to 777.7%.The country imports vast quantities of soybeans and wheat, and it is the 5th largest market for the European Union agricultural export. Japan also grows apples because of the restrictions on imports of apples and about 90% of the mandarin oranges are from Japan.


Manufacturing industry in Japan is the most diversified with various advanced industries which are exceedingly successful. The manufacturing industry in the country accounts for about 24% of the country's GDP, and most manufacturing industries are concentrated in Kanto region that surrounds the city of Tokyo and the Kansai region which surround the city of Osaka. There is also Tokai region which surrounds the Nagoya city. Other industrial centers in the country include Honshu which is in the south-western region of the country and the Shikoku in the northern part of the country around the Seto Inland Sea. On the northern part of the country is the Kyushu industrial center. Japan has managed to become a leader in technological development in a wide range of fields of manufacturing which include semiconductors, consumer electronics, optical fibers, automobile manufacturing, optoelectronics, copy machines, facsimile, and optical media among others. The country is also a leader in biochemistry and fermentation process in the food industry. Currently, the companies in Japan are facing stiff competition from emerging rivals in China, South Korea, and even the United States. Motor vehicle manufacturing in Japan is one of the most successful subsectors and enjoys a massive portion of the world market share and the country now produces tires, vehicle parts, and engine manufacturing among other components. Some of the motor vehicles companies in Japan include Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, and Subaru. There are also motorcycle companies like Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda.


Japan has a large fishing industry.

Fishing in Japan has been a significant economic activity for several years, and in 1996 the country ranked as the world’s 4th largest fishing country. In 2005, the country captured about 4,074,580 metric tons of fish which was a drop from 4,987,703 metric tons in 2000. In 1999, the country caught 9,558,615 metric tons of fish while in 1980, the country captured 9,864,422 metric tons of fish. Offshore fishing in Japan accounted for about half of the country's total fish caught in the 1980s. The cost of fishing utilizes the use of set nets, small boats, or breeding techniques which accounts for approximately 1/3 of the total fishing in the country. Medium sized boats fishing offshore account for more than 1/2 of the total fish production in Japan. On the other hand, deep fishing from large vessels account for the remaining portion of the total fishing in the country. Some of the seafood caught includes crabs, mackerel, tuna, sardines, pollock, salmon sauries, clams, trout, and squid among other seafood species. Freshwater fishing in Japan include species like trout, salmon. Fish farms and hatcheries account for about 30% of the fishing industry in the country. In Japan, there are approximately 300 fish species in the various rivers in the country and some of the fish in these rivers include chub, catfish goby, herring, and other freshwater creatures like crayfish, crabs, and lobsters. Japan carries out aquaculture of marine and freshwater in all of the 47 prefectures in the country. Japan has world’s biggest fishing fleets which accounts for approximately 15% of the total catch in the world, and this has led to the assertions that Japanese fishing has led to the depletion of the fish stocks like the tuna.


Tourism in Japan has been a growing industry over the years, and by 2012 the country received more than 8.3 million visitors from around the world, and it became the most visited nation in the whole of Asia and Pacific region. In 2013, the tourist arrival in the country surged to 11.25 million tourists, and this was a result of the weakening yen and the ease of acquiring visa among the nations in southwest Asia. The summer Olympics of 2020 will be held in Tokyo Japan, and the government is projecting that it will receive approximately 20 million visitors every year by that time. Some of the famous places in the country include Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa, and Ginza areas in Tokyo. Other favorite tourist places include Kyoto and Osaka cities. Hokkaido is also a famous destination for tourists and has many ski resorts and luxury hotels with some being constructed around the area. Himeji castle is another popular tourist attraction in the country as well.

Other Important Industries

Other significant and major industries in Japan include mining and petroleum exploration, and vast deposits of rare earth metals have been discovered in the coastal areas of Japan. Service industry also plays a significant role in the economy and accounts for approximately three-quarters of the total output in the economy. The major players in the service industry include real estate, insurance, retailing, banking, telecommunication and transport, and some of the major players in the industry include companies such as Mitsubishi Estate, Mitsui Sumitomo, Mizuho, NTT, Softbank Japan airlines, and Nomura among many others. The country has 251 of the Forbes global 2000 companies representing about 12.55%. The Tokyo Stock Exchange is the world's 3rd biggest stock exchange regarding market capitalization, and it is the second biggest in Asia having 2,292 listed corporations.


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