Capital Tokyo
Population 127,110,047 (2015)
Language Japanese
Currency Yen ¥ (JPY)
Average income $29,304 (USD) (2005)
Japanese population in New Zealand 14,118 (2013)


Japan is one of the most highly developed and prosperous nations in the world. A world leader in consumer electronics and car manufacturing, it is currently the third largest economy in the world (by nominal GDP), behind only China and the USA. As the only Asian member of the G8, Japan holds great sway in international affairs.

With a population of over 126 million, Japan is the 3rd most populous nation in East & Southeast Asia. Japan does not have a large amount of foreign born residents – 98.5% of the population are Japanese. 93.5% of its people live in urban areas such as Tokyo (38 million), Osaka-Kobe (20 million), and Nagoya (9.4 million). The country is made up of four main islands. North to South these are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Most of the population (over 100 million) reside in Honshu, which is also the largest of the islands.

In the decades following World War II, Japan experienced phenomenal economic growth. This has slowed in modern times, in particular due to the financial crisis of 2008 and the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami. Areas affected by this natural disaster continue to trail behind the national average, but overall the country has mostly recovered and maintains its role as a global economic leader. As part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan’s economy will be open to increased foreign competition and its businesses will have greater export opportunities.

The GDP of Japan is currently comprised of 1.2% agriculture, 26.6% industry and 72.2% services. In 2015 Japan imported and exported about the same value of goods, approx. $625 billion each way. Their main import/export partners are China and the USA. Motor vehicles and auto parts make up the bulk of Japan’s exports (14.9% and 4.8% of total exports, respectively), along with iron and steel products (5.4%) and plastic materials (3.3%). Most of Japan’s imports are currently energy based – petroleum (16.1% of total imports), liquid natural gas (9.1%) and coal (2.4%). They also import a significant amount of clothing (3.8%) and audio visual devices (1.4%).

New Zealand and Japan have enjoyed a relationship which has spanned decades. During the 1980s and 1990s many Kiwis studied Japanese and there were a great number of sister city relationships formed. While the Japanese economy has cooled in recent years it is still the third largest economy in the world and New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner.


  • 93,600 Japanese tourists visited New Zealand in the past 12 months, an increase of 11% on the previous year


  • 9,742 Japanese students studied in New Zealand in 2014


  • In 2014 Japan imported $2.9 billion worth of New Zealand goods


  • Japan has investments in New Zealand worth approximately $8.5 billion