Japan’s Top 10 Exports






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by Flagpictures.orgJapan shipped $705.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -4.4% decline since 2018 but a 12.9% increase from 2015 to 2019.

Japan’s exported goods totaled $518.3 billion during the first 10 months of 2020. Assuming an annualized $621.9 billion in exports for all 2020, Japan is on track for an estimated -11.9% drop in value for its shipments from 2019 to 2020.

Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Japanese yen has appreciated by 9.9% against the US dollar since 2015 and increased by 1.3% from 2018 to 2019. Japan’s stronger local currency since 2015 make exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive in 2019. Japan’s exports are also relatively costlier from 2018 to 2019 for international buyers starting from Japanese yen.

From a continental perspective, 57.3% of Japanese exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 22.7% were sold to North American importers. Japan shipped another 13.5% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Oceania led by Australia (2.6%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (also 2.6%) then Africa (1.3%).

Given Japan’s population of 126.2 million people, its total $705.7 billion in 2019 exported products translates to roughly $5,600 for every resident in the East Asian island nation.


Japan’s Top 10 Exports

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The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Japanese global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Japan.

  1. Vehicles: US$148.8 billion (21.1% of total exports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $137 billion (19.4%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $103.1 billion (14.6%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $39.1 billion (5.5%)
  5. Iron, steel: $26.1 billion (3.7%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $25.2 billion (3.6%)
  7. Organic chemicals: $17.8 billion (2.5%)
  8. Mineral fuels including oil: $14 billion (2%)
  9. Ships, boats: $13.8 billion (2%)
  10. Other chemical goods: $11.9 billion (1.7%)

Japan’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (76.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

The capital-intensive ships and boats category was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 9.2% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was mineral fuels including oil which was up by 5%, led by refined petroleum oils and petroleum coke. Japan’s shipments of miscellaneous chemical goods posted the third-fastest gain in value thanks to a 0.1% increase.

The leading decliner among Japan’s top 10 export categories was iron and steel which fell -12.8% year over year.

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Japan’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.