Japan has lagged behind other countries in pursuing bilateral trade agreements.
The government screens foreign investment in some sectors.
Although the government modified some energy subsidies in 2018, heavy subsidies continue in infant care, education, elderly care, and environmental protection.
The combined value of exports and imports is equal to 31.3 percent of GDP. As of June 30, 2018, according to the WTO, Japan had 381 nontariff measures in force.
A mountainous, volcanic island country, Japan has inadequate natural resources to support its growing economy and large population, and therefore exports goods in which it has a comparative advantage such as engineering-oriented, research and development-led industrial products in exchange for the import of raw materials and petroleum.
Japan is among the top-three importers for agricultural products in the world next to the European Union and United States in total volume for covering of its own domestic agricultural consumption.Over the past three years, government spending has amounted to 38.7 percent of the country’s output (GDP), and budget deficits have averaged 3.9 percent of GDP. The process for establishing a business is relatively streamlined, but bureaucracy is sometimes stifling.A propensity for lifetime employment guarantees and seniority-based wages impedes the development of a dynamic and flexible labor market.In the three decades of economic development following 1960, rapid economic growth referred to as the Japanese post-war economic miracle occurred.By the guidance of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, with average growth rates of 10% in the 1960s, 5% in the 1970s, and 4% in the 1980s, Japan was able to establish and maintain itself as the world's second largest economy from 1978 until 2010, when it was surpassed by the People's Republic of China.Accounting for these fluctuations through use of the Atlas method, Japan is estimated to have a GDP per capita of around ,490.The Japanese economy is forecast by the Quarterly Tankan survey of business sentiment conducted by the Bank of Japan.Security concerns include North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and China’s claims of sovereignty in the East and South China Seas. It enforces contracts and provides secure protection of real and intellectual property.Levels of corruption are low, but close relationships among companies, politicians, and government agencies foster an inwardly cooperative business climate conducive to corruption.Local deposits of metal-bearing ores were difficult to process because they were low grade.The nation's large and varied forest resources, which covered 70 percent of the country in the late 1980s, were not utilized extensively.