Japan’s economy is characterized by government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small but growing defense allocation. Nowadays, Japan is the third-largest economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product after the United States and China. Two notable characteristics of Japan’s post-war economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features are now eroding under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.
Japan's industrial sector is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. A tiny agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among the highest in the world. Usually self-sufficient in rice, Japan imports about 60% of its food on a caloric basis. Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and consumes nearly 15% of the global catch. Japan is the world’s largest importer of oil and gas resources, and the import of these natural resources significantly increased after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.
The Japanese economy is currently facing challenges of deflation, a huge government debt, estimated to have reached 227% of GDP in 2014, and an aging and shrinking population. The economic policy of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, called ‘Abenomics’ as a reference to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, is focused on three ‘arrows’ aimed at making the Japanese economy more competitive: increase government investment, fiscal stimulus and structural reform.
For further information on the Japanese economy you can consult the following websites:
The OECD country report on Japan
Statistics: Economics (Japan Information Network)
Statistics about Japan's economy
Trade and Industry Statistics (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
Statistics by the METI
Economic and other data
Nikkei Asian Review
Website of the leading Japanese business newspaper
Tokyo Stock Exchange
Japan Patet Office
Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (KEIDANREN)
Official website. Information on the Japanese economy, economic and fiscal policy management and international economic outlook.
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare