Highest Value Japanese Export Products

Car on display at Tokyo auto show

Car at Tokyo auto show

Japan’s overall 8.3% improvement in the value of its exports from 2016 to 2017 was driven in part by improving global sales of integrated electronic circuitry and machinery for making semiconductors.

Japanese exports of liquid crystal, laser and optical tools also experienced double-digit growth.

The following list shows which Japanese exports attracted the most international sales during 2017. Unlike most information currently available on the web, the items below are detailed at the 4-digit code level. This granularity can help entrepreneurs identify precisely which products in which Japan has strong competitive advantages over other nations, and also potential opportunities for innovation.

Japan is the world’s fourth-largest exporter.

Highest Value Japanese Export Products

Below are the 20 highest value export products shipped from Japan in 2017. Shown within brackets is the percentage change in value from 2016 to 2017 for each item.

  1. Cars: US$93.4 billion (up 1.6% since 2016)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $34.5 billion (up 9.1%)
  3. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $26.7 billion (up 10.9%)
  4. Machinery for making semi-conductors: $22.8 billion (up 27.7%)
  5. Cruise/cargo ships, barges: $11.7 billion (down -3.6%)
  6. Printing machinery: $10 billion (up 2.1%)
  7. Miscellaneous machinery: $9.6 billion (up 21.8%)
  8. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $9.3 billion (up 17.1%)
  9. Processed petroleum oils: $8.9 billion (up 17.1%)
  10. Trucks: $8.9 billion (down -0.03%)
  11. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $8.9 billion (down -0.01%)
  12. Gold (unwrought): $8.4 billion (up 14.8%)
  13. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $8.3 billion (up 11.4%)
  14. Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $7.4 billion (up 17.7%)
  15. Piston engine parts: $6.6 billion (up 9.9%)
  16. Piston engines: $6.1 billion (up 7.7%)
  17. Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools: $5.7 billion (up 17.3%)
  18. Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips: $5.5 billion (up 2%)
  19. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $5.3 billion (up 8.7%)
  20. Air or vacuum pumps: $5.2 billion (up 1.8%)

Japan’s well-known brands include Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and Toyota. So it should come as no surprise that automotive industry goods finished first and second among the highest value Japanese export products and represented 18.3% of overall exports during 2017. The 20 most valuable Japanese exports also included trucks, piston engines and related components.

Leading the decliners was the big-ticket category cruise ships, cargo vessels and barges with a modest -3.6% drop.

See also Japan’s Top 10 Exports, Japan’s Top Import Partners and Top Japanese Trade Balances

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 2, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 2, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 2, 2018