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El context econòmic de Japó

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Japan, the world's third-largest economy, is highly exposed to external impacts due to its heavy reliance on exports. This vulnerability has manifested itself in recent years, as its economy has experienced periods of recession alongside the global economic slowdown. Likewise, the global economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact; however, the country’s economy rebounded in 2021, with an estimated growth of 2.6% (IMF), on the back of strong exports and public consumption and investment. The IMF forecast a GDP increase of 3.2% this year (underpinned by the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement) followed by 1.4% in 2023, although uncertainty remains due to the surge in global Covid-19 cases. Private consumption growth will remain subdued given sluggish wages.

Japan has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the world: estimated at 256.9% in 2021, it is expected to follow a downward trend over the forecast horizon (252.3% in 2022 and 250.8% in 2023 according to the IMF). Public finances have been affected by the measures taken to contain the Covid-19-induced crisis (about 16% of GDP in 2020-2021), which included the Employment Adjustment Subsidy, cash benefits to SMEs and concessional loans. As a result, the general government deficit stood at 8% in 2021 (down from a record level of 9.2% one year earlier). By the end of 2021, Kishida’s cabinet approved a larger-than-expected JPY 55.7 trillion fiscal stimulus package that includes more funding for universities and digitalization of rural areas, as well as financing to raise semiconductor manufacturing capacity, aimed at improving the country’s economic security. As the economy rebounds and the global situation normalizes, the IMF projects a deficit of 3.6% this year followed by a further decrease in 2023 (2%). Inflation was negative by 0.2% last year; nevertheless, inflationary pressures are building relatively quickly and the IMF expects the inflation rate to turn positive in 2022 (0.5%) before picking up to 0.7% in 2023.

Moving forward, budgetary consolidation will remain a key issue for the country as it tries to bring its debt levels under control. The demographic troubles faced by Japan are getting more serious. An ageing society causes a big challenge for the country, as the government’s expected spending on pensions and health care is set to keep on rising. Additionally, a declining birthrate leads to a significant decrease in the population, and as a result a decrease in the number of taxpayers. Japan’s working-age population has been declining for a few decades, but that has been offset by rising participation, helping in employment growth and maintaining a low unemployment rate. Elevated debt levels on business balance sheets could restrain employers’ ability to hire more and offer stronger wage gains. Unemployment was stable at 2.8% in 2021 but is expected to decrease marginally to 2.4% this year and 2.3% in 2023.

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 5,135.905,045.10e5,103.115,383.685,735.34
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 0.0-4.61.63.31.8
GDP per Capita (USD) 40,690e40,08940,70443,11946,138
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -2.6-9.2e-8.0-3.6-2.0
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 235.4e254.1256.9252.3250.8
Inflation Rate (%) 0.5-0.0-0.31.00.8
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 2.42.82.82.42.3
Current Account (billions USD) 176.54164.40176.88178.47185.01
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.43.33.53.33.2

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Even though Japan has some deposits of gold, magnesium, coal and silver, the country has very limited natural resources overall and, as a result, is highly dependent on imports to meet its raw material and energy needs. On the other hand, thanks to its large maritime area, the country is one of the world’s largest producers of fishing products. However, given that only 11% of Japan’s surface is suitable for cultivation, the agricultural sector is small in Japan. Tea and rice are the country’s two largest crops, though the sector as a whole is highly subsidised and protected. Agriculture contributes marginally to GDP (1%) and employs only 3.4% of the workforce.

The industrial sector is highly diversified, manufacturing products ranging from basic goods (such as steel and paper) to sophisticated technology. Japan dominates the automobile, robotics, biotechnology, nanotechnology and renewable energy sectors. Japan is home to several of the world's largest manufacturers of electronic products, which is why the country's industrial sector is often associated with technological sophistication. The country is the world’s third-largest producer of cars and the second-largest producer of ships. Its industrial sector represents 28.7% of GDP and employs 24.2% of the workforce.

The service sector accounts for 69.3% of GDP and employs 72.4% of the workforce. Major services in Japan include banking, insurance, retailing, transportation and telecommunications. The country also has a significant tourism sector, which has seen substantial growth in recent years. Due to the crisis and the travel bans triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism has dropped to record levels (-87.1% y-o-y in 2020 – Japan National Tourism Organization). 2021 numbers were even lower, with only 213,063 foreign arrivals, despite the Olympic games that took place in Tokyo (where no foreign tourists were allowed to prevent the further spreading of the infection).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 3.4 24.2 72.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.0 28.7 69.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 1.4 -1.2 -0.0

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

Score:
74,1/100
World Rank:
23
Regional Rank:
6

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
7.79/10
World Rank:
20/82

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024

 

Country Risk

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