Potential market

(posted on 25/07/2016)


Blessed with considerable capacity to overcome economic and climatic crises, the Land of the Rising Sun is still the third world power. With an economy highly dependent on foreign trade, Japan continues to be a preferred trading partner and one of the main countries participating in our trade shows.

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The “Land of the Rising Sun” had GDP of $4,601 billion in 2015 and ranks as the third world power after the United States and China. Despite very high public debt, due in part to social security spending, Japan is the second financial power in the world with significant cash reserves thanks to household savings ($13,828 billion) and its government pension fund, the GPIF, the largest in the world ($1,095 billion).

First in several industry sectors

With a population of 127 million people and purchasing power among the highest in the world, Japan enjoys a steady rate of consumer spending. Its economy is mainly based on the service sector (72% of GDP) and industry (27%). Japan has a real technological advance and dominates the automotive, robotics, biotechnology, nanotechnology and renewable energy sectors. Agriculture, which accounts for only 1% of Japan’s GDP, is nonetheless highly subsidised and protected for political and social reasons.

An economy reliant on foreign trade

With few natural resources, the archipelago is dependent on international trade to provide raw materials and energy resources (40% of imports).
As the world’s fourth importer and exporter of goods (2014), Japan has a trade deficit of some $23,635 billion.

Japan’s chief buying countries are the USA (20%), China (17%) and the EU (10%). Its main supplying countries are China in first place, accounting for 25% of Japanese imports, then the EU with 11%, closely followed by the USA with 10%.

France-Japan – a strong trading relationship

Japan is France’s second biggest trade partner in Asia. In 2015, Japanese companies imported $5.2 billion worth of French products: hydrocarbons (32%), food (9%) and mineral raw materials (8%). Meanwhile, $9.5 billion of Japanese goods were exported to France, mainly vehicles and automotive components (21%), industrial machinery (21%) and electrical and electronic equipment (18%).

The close trade links between our two countries naturally result in significant numbers of Japanese visitors at French trade shows: Japan ranks 8th in visitor numbers, with nearly 17,000 professionals travelling to trade shows in France each year (see p. 4).

Sources: JETRO / Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international