Overview In 2021, Japan was the number 3 economy in the world in terms of GDP (current US$), the number 4 in total exports, the number 4 in total imports, the number 34 economy in terms of GDP per capita (current US$) and the number 1 most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI) .

Exports The top exports of Japan are Cars ($88.6B), Integrated Circuits ($36B), Motor vehicles; parts and accessories (8701 to 8705) ($33.4B), Machinery Having Individual Functions ($22B), and Photo Lab Equipment ($18.5B), exporting mostly to China ($153B), United States ($128B), Chinese Taipei ($52.5B), South Korea ($51.1B), and Thailand ($31.2B).

In 2021, Japan was the world's biggest exporter of Machinery Having Individual Functions ($22B), Photo Lab Equipment ($18.5B), Large Construction Vehicles ($11.8B), Hot-Rolled Iron ($10.9B), and Thermostats ($5.88B)

Imports The top imports of Japan are Crude Petroleum ($54.9B), Petroleum Gas ($40.2B), Integrated Circuits ($22.7B), Coal Briquettes ($22.2B), and Refined Petroleum ($18.1B), importing mostly from China ($168B), United States ($71.8B), Australia ($47B), Chinese Taipei ($30.2B), and South Korea ($30.1B).

In 2021, Japan was the world's biggest importer of Other Prepared Meat ($2.85B), Processed Tobacco ($2.46B), Fuel Wood ($2.09B), Ethers ($1.61B), and Sulfates ($712M)

Location Japan borders China, North Korea, South Korea, Philippines, and Russia by sea.

Latest Trends

November, 2023

Historical Data

Yearly Trade

Top Export (2021)Cars$88.6B
Top Destination (2021)China$153B

In 2021, Japan exported a total of $731B, making it the number 4 exporter in the world. During the last five reported years the exports of Japan have changed by $92.9B from $638B in 2016 to $731B in 2021.

The most recent exports are led by Cars ($88.6B), Integrated Circuits ($36B), Motor vehicles; parts and accessories (8701 to 8705) ($33.4B), Machinery Having Individual Functions ($22B), and Photo Lab Equipment ($18.5B). The most common destination for the exports of Japan are China ($153B), United States ($128B), Chinese Taipei ($52.5B), South Korea ($51.1B), and Thailand ($31.2B).

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Exports (2021)
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Destinations (2021)
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Market Growth

Fastest Growing Export Markets (2020 - 2021)
China$21.6B (+ 16.4%)
United States$16.3B (+ 14.5%)
Chinese Taipei$9.78B (+ 22.9%)
Fastest Growing Import Markets (2020 - 2021)
China$16.8B (+ 11.1%)
Australia$15.3B (+ 48.3%)
United Arab Emirates$9.59B (+ 63%)

Total Export Growth by Market (2020 - 2021)

Service Trade

Service Trade

Japan Exports Services (2019)$205B
Japan Imports Services (2019)$196B

In 2019, Japan exported $205B worth of services. The top services exported by Japan in 2019 were Royalties and license fees ($46.9B), Other business services ($46.6B), Personal travel ($41.9B), Transportation ($26.2B), and Financial services ($14.3B).

The top services imported by Japan in 2019 were Other business services ($66.7B), Transportation ($34.3B), Royalties and license fees ($26.3B), Computer and information services ($20.7B), and Personal travel ($18B).

Service Exports (2019)

Service Imports (2019)

Economic Complexity


Economic Complexity (Trade)2.06Rank 1 of 131
Economic Complexity (Technology)1Rank 21 of 96
Economic Complexity (Research)0.86Rank 29 of 140

Comparison Map


This section shows exports, imports and economic complexity data at the subnational level for Japan. Click any of the Prefecture in the geomap to visit the specific subnational profile.

The top territories of Japan according to its Economic Complexity Index are Aichi (0.94), Tochigi (0.93), and Shiga (0.88).

The principal exporters of Japan were Aichi (¥18T), Chiba (¥17.4T), and Osaka (¥12.9T).

The same year,  the principal importers of Japan were Chiba (¥28T), Tokyo (¥15.9T), and Osaka (¥13.7T).

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Most Specialized Products by RCA Index

Japan has a high level of specialization in Photographic Chemicals (14.9), Blown Glass (14.1), Watch Movements (11.7), Pianos (10.5), and Metalworking Transfer Machines (8.83). Specialization is measured using RCA, an index that takes the ratio between Japan observed and expected exports in each product.

Export Opportunities by Relatedness

The top export opportunities for Japan according to the relatedness index, were Non-Petroleum Gas (0.46), Platinum Clad Metals (0.42), Cermets (0.41), Office Machine Parts (0.4), and Typewriters (0.4). Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product. The barchart show only products that Japan is not specialized in.

Product Space

The product space is a network connecting products that are likely to be co-exported. The product space can be used to predict future exports, since countries are more likely to start exporting products that are related to current exports. Relatedness measures the distance between a product, and all of the products a country currently specializes in.

Relatedness Space

This network shows the products most related to the production structure of Japan. These are products that tend to be co-exported with the products that Japan exports. Higher relatedness values ​​indicate greater knowledge, which predicts a greater probability of exporting that product in the future.

Diversification Frontier


The Complexity-Relatedness diagram compares the risk vs strategic value of a country's potential export oppotunities. Relatedness is predictive of the probability that a country increases its exports in a product. Complexity, is associated with higher levels of income, economic growth, less income inequality, and lower greenhouse emissions.

Economic Complexity Ranking


During the last 20 years Japan's⁩ ⁨economy has become relatively more complex, moving from the ⁩⁨1st to the 1st⁩ position in the ECI rank.

These economic complexity rankings use 6 digit exports classified according to the HS96 classification. We consider only countries with population of at least 1 million and exports of at least $1 billion, and products with world trade over $500 million. To explore different rankings and vary these parameters visit the custom rankings section.

Explore Rankings

ECI (Trade) Ranking by Country

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