Highest Value Japanese Export Products

Car on display at Tokyo auto show

Car at Tokyo auto show

Japan’s overall 11.1% improvement in the value of its exports from 2009 to 2016 was driven primarily by automotive products, heavy machinery and aircraft parts.

Exported gold also exhibited a respectable gain over the 7-year period.

The following list shows which Japanese exports attracted the most sales during 2016. 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 2016. Shown within brackets is the percentage change in value from 2009 to 2016 for each item.

  1. Cars: US$92 billion (up 47.7% since 2009)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $31.7 billion (up 28.6%)
  3. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $24.1 billion (down -12.1%)
  4. Machinery for making semi-conductors: $17.9 billion (up 116.3%)
  5. Cruise/cargo ships, barges: $12.1 billion (down -44.1%)
  6. Printing machinery: $9.8 billion (down -25.3%)
  7. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $8.9 billion (down -0.1%)
  8. Trucks: $8.9 billion (up 35.1%)
  9. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $8 billion (up 61.6%)
  10. Miscellaneous machinery: $7.9 billion (up 56.2%)
  11. Processed petroleum oils: $7.6 billion (down -18.8%)
  12. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $7.5 billion (up 34.9%)
  13. Gold (unwrought): $7.3 billion (up 70.7%)
  14. Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $6.3 billion (down -9.6%)
  15. Piston engine parts: $6 billion (up 8.1%)
  16. Piston engines: $5.7 billion (up 40.8%)
  17. Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips: $5.4 billion (down -10.7%)
  18. Air or vacuum pumps: $5.1 billion (up 22.6%)
  19. Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools: $4.8 billion (up 25.1%)
  20. Aircraft parts: $4.8 billion (up 91.9%)

Japan’s well-known brands include Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and Toyota. So it should come as no surprise that automotive industry output finished first and second among the highest value Japanese export products and represented 19.2% of overall exports during 2016. 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 sharp -44.1% drop.

Printing machinery fell by -25.3% while Japanese processed oils depreciated by -18.8%.

Japan’s electronics and technology sectors didn’t emerge unscathed. Exported transistors and semi-conductors declined by -12.1% while international sales of solar power diodes moderated by -0.1%.

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 4, 2017

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 4, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 4, 2017