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Key Economic Trends

  • The U.S. trade deficit with Japan decreased by $28.8 billion (37 percent), as a substantial decline in U.S. imports from Japan exceeded the decline in U.S. exports. Japan has remained the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner for the past three years.
  • The principal factors accounting for the $43.1 billion (31 percent) decline in U.S. imports from Japan in 2009 include a shortage of credit, which limited consumers’ options for financing new purchases; high U.S. unemployment; and the appreciation of the yen relative to the U.S. dollar, which raised the price of U.S. imports from Japan.
  • The two leading industries contributing the most to the $14.3 billion (23 percent) drop in U.S. exports to Japan were transportation equipment and agriculture. Declines in the former were due to reduced demand for motor vehicles from financially stressed Japanese consumers, while the drop in the latter was owing to falling prices in cereal crops.

Trade Shifts from 2008 to 2009

  • U.S. trade deficit: Decreased by $28.8 billion (37 percent) to $48.9 billion
  • U.S. exports: Decreased by $14.4 billion (23 percent) to $47.1 billion
  • U.S. imports: Decreased by $43.1 billion (31 percent) to $96.0 billion

Other Government Resources

Ministry of Economics, Trade, and Industry of Japan

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
World Factbook - Japan

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration
Country Analysis Brief – Japan

U.S. Department of State
Background Note – Japan