Japan’s Top Trading Partners

Japan’s Top Trading Partners

by Flagpictures.org

Known as the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan is a major economic and political power in Asia. Yet it is a North American nation–the United States–that was the number two purchaser of Japanese export products during 2018.

The world’s fourth-largest exporter, Japan shipped US$738.2 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. That dollar figure reflects a 5.7% increase since 2017.

From a continental perspective, 58.5% of Japanese exports by value are delivered to fellow Asian countries while 21.9% are sold to North American importers. Japan ships another 13.1% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages were destined for customers in Oceania (2.9%) led by Australia, Latin America (2.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Africa (1.1%).

Japan’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Japan’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Japanese shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Japanese exports.

  1. China: US$144 billion (19.5% of Japan’s total exports)
  2. United States: $140.6 billion (19%)
  3. South Korea: $52.5 billion (7.1%)
  4. Taiwan: $42.4 billion (5.7%)
  5. Hong Kong: $34.7 billion (4.7%)
  6. Thailand: $32.3 billion (4.4%)
  7. Singapore: $23.4 billion (3.2%)
  8. Germany: $20.9 billion (2.8%)
  9. Australia: $17.1 billion (2.3%)
  10. Vietnam: $16.4 billion (2.2%)
  11. Indonesia: $15.8 billion (2.1%)
  12. United Kingdom: $14 billion (1.9%)
  13. Malaysia: $13.9 billion (1.9%)
  14. Netherlands: $12.7 billion (1.7%)
  15. Mexico: $11.6 billion (1.6%)

Four-fifths (80.2% by value) of Japanese exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Hong Kong and South Korea were the only top importers that decreased purchases from Japan from 2014 to 2018, down in value by -2.1% and -1.5% respectively. Among the other 13 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of 1.6% for the United Kingdom up to 17.9% for Indonesia.

For the complete listing, see the section Searchable Datalist of Countries Importing Japan’s Exports near the bottom of this article.

Deficits

Japan incurred an overall -$10.2 billion trade deficit for 2018, reversing a $26.2 billion surplus one year earlier.

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

In 2018, Japan incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.

  1. Saudi Arabia: -US$29.7 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
  2. China: -$29.5 billion
  3. Australia: -$28.6 billion
  4. United Arab Emirates: -$19.6 billion
  5. Qatar: -$13.4 billion
  6. Russia: -$8.3 billion
  7. Italy: -$6.7 billion
  8. Indonesia: -$5.8 billion
  9. Ireland: -$5.7 billion
  10. Kuwait: -$5.5 billion

Among Japan’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Japanese deficits with United Arab Emirates (up 45.1%), Ireland (up 37.7%) and Qatar (up 37.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

In 2018, Japan incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.

  1. United States: US$57 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
  2. Hong Kong: $32.6 billion
  3. South Korea: $20.4 billion
  4. Taiwan: $15.3 billion
  5. Singapore: $13.7 billion
  6. Netherlands: $9.5 billion
  7. Thailand: $7.2 billion
  8. United Kingdom: $5.8 billion
  9. India: $5.5 billion
  10. Panama: $5.4 billion

Among Japan’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Japanese surpluses with India (up 57%), Panama (up 17.3%) and Thailand (up 7.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Japan’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Japan to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Japanese Trading Partners

According to the Japan Import Export Directory, the following are examples of entrepreneurial companies that ship products from Japan to its trading partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the Japanese business specializes in.

  • Aiza Corporation Japan (consumer electronics)
  • Akasaka Diesels Limited (marine engines, generators)
  • Aktio Corp. (construction equipment)
  • Fuji Latex Co., Ltd. (shock absorbers)
  • Japan Algae Co., Ltd. (dietary supplements)
  • Kiramek, Inc. (vehicle security products)
  • Kyodo Co., Inc. (steel)
  • Ochadokoro Sanwa (Japanese Green tea)
  • TMO International Limited (gold, gemstones)
  • Whn Co., Ltd. (new/used cars)


 

Searchable Datalist of Countries Importing Japan’s Exports

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of any of the columns below. The right-most shows the percentage change in value for each importing country since 2017.

RankImporter2018 Japanese Exports2017-8
1. China$144 billion+8.4%
2. United States$140.6 billion+4.1%
3. South Korea$52.5 billion-1.5%
4. Taiwan$42.4 billion+4.3%
5. Hong Kong$34.7 billion-2.1%
6. Thailand$32.3 billion+9.6%
7. Singapore$23.4 billion+3.4%
8. Germany$20.9 billion+10.3%
9. Australia$17.1 billion+6.8%
10. Vietnam$16.4 billion0.09
11. Indonesia$15.8 billion+17.9%
12. United Kingdom$14 billion+1.6%
13. Malaysia$13.9 billion+9.3%
14. Netherlands$12.7 billion+2.3%
15. Mexico$11.6 billion+3.1%
16. Philippines$11.3 billion+1.3%
17. India$11 billion+24.4%
18. Canada$9.4 billion-2.6%
19. United Arab Emirates$7.9 billion+9.6%
20. France$7.3 billion+16.6%
21. Russia$7.3 billion+21.4%
22. Belgium$6.8 billion+15.5%
23. Panama$5.9 billion+8.1%
24. Italy$4.7 billion-3.9%
25. Saudi Arabia$4.1 billion+10.2%
26. Brazil$4 billion+17.9%
27. Switzerland$3.8 billion-25.5%
28. Spain$3.4 billion0.15
29. Turkey$3.2 billion+1.2%
30. New Zealand$2.6 billion+5.9%
31. South Africa$2.5 billion+0.1%
32. Israel$2.2 billion+12.5%
33. Poland$2.1 billion+6.1%
34. Pakistan$2.1 billion-9.6%
35. Oman$2 billion-0.13
36. Chile$2 billion+13.8%
37. Kuwait$1.8 billion+24.9%
38. Hungary$1.6 billion+9.1%
39. Czech Republic$1.6 billion0.16
40. Bangladesh$1.6 billion-9.7%
41. Sweden$1.4 billion+4.4%
42. Qatar$1.4 billion+19.5%
43. Marshall Islands$1.4 billion+2.6%
44. Austria$1.3 billion+13.7%
45. Sri Lanka$1.3 billion+43.4%
46. Bahamas$1.2 billion+126.9%
47. Liberia$1.2 billion+43.2%
48. Colombia$1.1 billion+10.6%
49. Ireland$1.1 billion+31.1%
50. Egypt$994.4 million+18.9%
51. Norway$932 million-0.6%
52. Kenya$898.2 million+17.7%
53. Argentina$740.4 million+0.4%
54. Peru$738 million-2.6%
55. Iran$702 million-20.1%
56. Myanmar (Burma)$695.2 million-21.1%
57. Malta$684 million+64.4%
58. Bahrain$644.9 million-5.1%
59. Luxembourg$612.2 million+4.4%
60. Macao$608.8 million+41.9%
61. Portugal$583.8 million+36.5%
62. Uzbekistan$527.9 million+336.3%
63. Mongolia$517.6 million+44.9%
64. Denmark$505.4 million+11.6%
65. Finland$491.5 million0.24
66. Romania$444.2 million+11.6%
67. Ecuador$430.2 million+9.2%
68. Jordan$426.3 million-22.1%
69. Greece$423.5 million+76.2%
70. Cambodia$421.4 million+17.7%
71. Ukraine$419.3 million-7.7%
72. Kazakhstan$387.6 million+41.4%
73. Iraq$359.8 million+26.2%
74. Nigeria$328.4 million+2.3%
75. Tanzania$318.8 million+2.5%
76. Lebanon$316.9 million-50.4%
77. Costa Rica$278.6 million-9.8%
78. US Minor Outlying Is$261.2 million+16.5%
79. Dominican Republic$259.9 million-1.6%
80. Georgia$254.8 million+33.3%
81. Jamaica$245.9 million-4.4%
82. Guatemala$230.9 million-0.9%
83. Slovakia$223.2 million+12%
84. Uganda$200.1 million-28.7%
85. Morocco$195 million-20.1%
86. Yemen$188.4 million+134.5%
87. Estonia$164 million+25.6%
88. Cyprus$161.3 million-11.2%
89. Ghana$152.4 million+16.4%
90. Trinidad/Tobago$148.5 million-26.8%
91. Papua New Guinea$147.8 million-14.3%
92. Bulgaria$146.1 million+53.1%
93. Bolivia$143.7 million+8.3%
94. Mauritius$139.5 million+13.1%
95. Tunisia$138.7 million+64.4%
96. Laos$133.6 million+14.9%
97. El Salvador$131.1 million+0.9%
98. Slovenia$127.6 million+0.9%
99. Algeria$125 million-13.8%
100. Mozambique$123.2 million+22.3%
101. Paraguay$105.1 million+22.5%
102. Brunei Darussalam$99.2 million+16.8%
103. Fiji$95.9 million+32.2%
104. Honduras$94.2 million+7.8%
105. Iceland$86 million+0.5%
106. Côte d'Ivoire$77.8 million+16.8%
107. Lithuania$70.5 million+26.4%
108. Suriname$67.4 million+59.9%
109. Haiti$66.7 million+28.7%
110. Latvia$66.6 million-1.5%
111. Uruguay$64 million+1.5%
112. Senegal$61.3 million+18.7%
113. Afghanistan$59.8 million-13.8%
114. Zambia$58.3 million+14.6%
115. Nicaragua$57.6 million-0.32
116. Democratic Rep. Congo$57.1 million+55.3%
117. Cayman Islands$57 million-63.4%
118. Azerbaijan$55.3 million-32.3%
119. Nepal$52.5 million+59.6%
120. Guyana$50.6 million+19.6%
121. Ethiopia$47.2 million-58.5%
122. Croatia$45.7 million+11.5%
123. Sudan$45.3 million-0.23
124. New Caledonia$40.2 million+22.7%
125. Cuba$38.9 million-7.7%
126. Djibouti$34.9 million-33.2%
127. Barbados$32.2 million-65.1%
128. Libya$31.8 million+121.8%
129. Northern Mariana Is$31.7 million+0.2%
130. Togo$31.1 million+5.3%
131. Malawi$29.5 million+35.3%
132. Belarus$29.4 million+32.5%
133. Zimbabwe$29.4 million+58.7%
134. Botswana$28.8 million+28.5%
135. Gabon$26.6 million+33.6%
136. Curaçao$25.7 million-20.2%
137. Maldives$25 million+23.9%
138. Armenia$24.7 million+27.1%
139. Serbia$24 million+64.8%
140. Namibia$23.2 million0.07
141. Syrian Arab Republic$20.8 million+25.9%
142. Belize$20.7 million+102.4%
143. French Polynesia$20.4 million+6.7%
144. Tuvalu$20.3 million+7.3%
145. Angola$20 million-35.4%
146. Cameroon$19.9 million-14.7%
147. Venezuela$19.7 million-73%
148. Micronesia$19.3 million-28.7%
149. Burkina Faso$18.1 million+0.8%
150. Antigua/Barbuda$17.7 million+20.9%
151. Turkmenistan$17.7 million-78.3%
152. Guinea$17.6 million+154.1%
153. Swaziland$17.4 million+53.8%
154. Solomon Islands$17.1 million+8.1%
155. Mauritania$16.7 million-23.2%
156. Kyrgyzstan$16.6 million-0.23
157. Madagascar$15.7 million+9.9%
158. Mali$15.3 million-6.1%
159. Palau$15.1 million-47.4%
160. Samoa$13.6 million+4.1%
161. Tonga$13.5 million+112.8%
162. Saint Lucia$12.7 million-0.02
163. Tajikistan$12.7 million+115.3%
164. Rwanda$11.2 million-3.8%
165. Seychelles$11 million-30.7%
166. Vanuatu$11 million-65.5%
167. Lesotho$10.8 million+21.1%
168. Montenegro$10.3 million-53.3%
169. Benin$9.5 million+10.5%
170. Grenada$9.2 million+7.1%
171. Bhutan$8.9 million-15.2%
172. Cabo Verde$8.6 million0.59
173. Bermuda$8.3 million-17.5%
174. St Vincent/Grenadines$7.8 million+64.7%
175. Dominica$7.4 million+35.6%
176. Sierra Leone$7.3 million+146.7%
177. Burundi$7.3 million0.47
178. Timor-Leste$7.2 million+17.2%
179. British Virgin Islands$6.8 million-14.4%
180. Moldova$6.6 million+188.2%
181. Macedonia$6.5 million+0.3%
182. Congo$6.4 million+77.4%
183. Saint Kitts/Nevis$6.4 million-17.2%
184. Kiribati$6.2 million-47.8%
185. Somalia$6.2 million+63.9%
186. Turks/Caicos Islands$5.4 million+19.9%
187. Niger$5.1 million-0.03
188. Gambia$5.1 million+37.1%
189. Cook Islands$3.1 million-13.6%
190. Chad$3 million-22.4%
191. Anguilla$2.9 million+9.5%
192. Bosnia/Herzegovina$2.7 million-40.4%
193. Palestine$2.7 million+19.7%
194. Comoros$2.2 million-10.1%
195. Nauru$2 million+528.6%
196. Central African Rep$1.9 million-11.2%
197. Albania$1.5 million-62.2%
198. Eritrea$977,000-0.66
199. Sao Tome/Principe$849,000-38.7%
200. Equatorial Guinea$590,000-9.6%
201. Andorra$394,000-4.4%
202. Montserrat$363,000-41.5%
203. Guinea-Bissau$124,000-91.5%
204. Saint Helena$93,000+38.8%
205. Western Sahara$55,000-44.4%
206. Falkland Islands (Malvinas)$39,000+105.3%
207. Greenland$2,000-0.6

 

See also Japan’s Top 10 Imports, Japan’s Top 10 Exports, Top Japanese Trade Balances and Japan’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 1, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 1, 2019

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on February 1, 2019

IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Japan Import Export Directory. Accessed on November 3, 2015