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Japan is a country situated in the Pacific Ocean that consists of four main islands and over three thousand smaller islands. While Japan is a country with limited natural resources and a heavy reliance on importing, it is, nonetheless, a global economic power. This is largely due to the high level of education, high literacy rate, manufacturing industries and innovative technologies of the country.
Due to the fact that Japan is an archipelago, its primary natural resource is fish. In fact, Japan’s convenient access to the ocean makes its fishing industry one of the most thriving in the world at $14 billion dollars annually (Facts and Details). Since the soil of Japan is of low quality and only 25% of the land can be used for agricultural purposes, the types of crops that can be grown are limited. As a result, rice is the largest agricultural resource and is the staple food for most citizens. Besides this, some other commonly grown crops include wheat and barley.
In terms of energy resources, Japan is extremely limited and highly dependent on energy imports from other countries which mainly include oil and natural gas. In years past, it mainly imported petroleum to meet its energy demands. In more recent years, Japan has turned to nuclear power for much of its energy needs and has also experimented with alternative energy sources such as geothermal energy.
Despite the overall lack of natural resources, the population of Japan has a considerable skill set that has led to its thriving economy. With a population of 127 million, Japan is a highly educated country with a large emphasis on higher learning. Accordingly, the educational system continually produces individuals with valuable skills for the work force to meet the demands of the global economy. Some of Japan’s biggest industries are centered on automotives, electronics and robotics. Along with this, Japanese make products like vehicles and electronics are known for their high level of quality and durability. Part of Japan’s success lies in its ability to import materials from other countries, using those materials for manufacturing and eventually exporting the finished products. Essentially, Japan is able to import raw materials at a low price and manufacture finished products that can be exported for a much higher price.
In terms of goods, the areas of manufacturing and technology are where Japan should have a comparative advantage to many other countries. Japan’s ability to remain innovative and export vehicles and electronics to much of the world makes it a global power. When it comes to services, Japan’s strength mainly lies in insurance, banking and telecommunications, which comprise much of its economic output.
Even though it lacks the natural resources of many countries, its high educational standards, skilled work force and ability to capitalize on technology makes Japan a serious economic contender. While in times past, a strong agricultural industry may have been of primary importance, being on the cutting edge of technology is perhaps more important in the modern world. Along with this, Japan is a country that is rooted in tradition but at the same time is focused on the future.
In addition, Japan has established relationships with the United States and numerous other countries which help to optimize its trading options. It would seem that this forward thinking mentality would benefit Japan in the long run and suit it well for the 21st century. As a result, this puts Japan at a considerable advantage over many other countries and should help to propel its economy into the future.