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Foreign trade figures of Japan

Foreign Trade in Figures

Foreign trade is an essential element of the Japanese economy, but the country is not fully open and imposes extensive non-tariff barriers, especially in the agricultural sector. Japan is the world's 5th-largest exporter and importer of goods (WTO), and foreign trade accounts for 47% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The country mainly exports motor vehicles (11.6% of all exports) being the third exporter of cars worldwide, electronic integrated circuits (4.5%), semiconductors and related items (4.1%), parts and accessories for motor vehicles (3.9%), and petroleum oils (2%). The country's main imports include petroleum oils (11.2%) and gases (8%), coal (6.6%), electronic integrated circuits (3.6%), and telephones (3.2% - data Comtrade for 2022).

Japan’s main export partners in 2022 were China (19.4%), the United States (18.7%), South Korea (7.2%), Hong Kong (4.4%), and Thailand (4.3%); whereas imports came chiefly from China (21%), the U.S. (10.1%), Australia (9.8%), the UAE (5.1%) and Saudi Arabia (4.7%). Japan is the EU’s second-biggest trading partner in Asia after China, and together they both account for about a quarter of the world's GDP. The two parties signed an Economic Partnership Agreement, which entered into force in 2019. Moreover, Japan signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), arguably the largest free trade agreement in history (its signatories include China, Australia, South Korea, etc., cumulating about 30% of global GDP). The RCEP agreement entered into force on 1 January 2022.

The country traditionally has a large trade surplus; however, in recent years the balance turned null and it was negative by 3.8% of GDP in 2022 (World Bank). According to WTO data, Japan's exports of goods reached USD 746.9 billion (-1.2% year-on-year) in 2022, while imports amounted to USD 897.2 billion (+16.6 y-o-y). Concerning the service sector, exports decreased 1.9% year-on-year to USD 166.7 billion, whereas imports were stable at USD 209.5 billion. According to the Ministry of Trade, exports totalled JPY 100.8 billion in 2023 (+2.8%), whereas imports reached JPY 110.1 billion, marking a 7% decrease year-on-year.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 720,957635,460768,976897,175785,615
Exports of Goods (million USD) 705,564641,319756,032746,835717,315
Imports of Services (million USD) 219,427198,034209,397211,772227,792
Exports of Services (million USD) 209,501163,838170,768169,484204,347

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 36.635.231.436.9n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 10,5871,36126,64716,706-117,435
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 1,405-8,615-7,598-21,811-158,671
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.81.0-6.85.1n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.8-1.5-11.611.7n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 18.317.815.818.7n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 18.317.515.518.2n/a

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.03.31.72.51.8
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -1.32.22.01.71.6

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Japan is a member of the following international economic organisations: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (dialogue partner of ASEAN Plus Three), G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IMF, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Japan click here. International organisation membership of Japan is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
Japan is a member of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed on 15 November 2020. The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Japan can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2023
United States 20.2%
China 17.6%
South Korea 6.5%
Hong Kong SAR, China 4.5%
Thailand 4.1%
See More Countries 47.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2023
China 22.4%
United States 10.1%
Australia 8.6%
United Arab Emirates 4.9%
Saudi Arabia 4.6%
See More Countries 49.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

746.7 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 11.6%
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 4.5%
Machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or...Machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or principally for the manufacture of semiconductor boules or wafers, semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits or flat panel displays; machines and apparatus specified in note 9 C to chapter 84; parts and accessories, n.e.s. 4.1%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.0%
See More Products 73.9%
898.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 11.2%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 8.0%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 6.6%
Electronic integrated circuits; parts thereofElectronic integrated circuits; parts thereof 3.6%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 3.2%
See More Products 67.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: June 2024