THE IMPORTANCE OF EAST ASIA IN JAPAN's EXPANDING TRADE
Japanese trade with East Asia greatly expanded from 1990 to 2011. Exports from Japan to East Asia grew 4.9-fold from $96.3 billion to $469.2 billion, while imports from East Asia expanded 5.3-fold from $66.2 billion to $354.1 billion. East Asia's share of Japanese exports to the world was 32.7% in 1990, but grew to 56.9% in 2011. East Asia's share of Japanese imports from the world rose 14 percentage points from 28.4% to 42.9%, which was lower than that of exports both in terms of the rate of increase and the actual share. These figures indicate that to Japan, East Asia is more important as an export destination than as a source of imports.
THE COMMODITY COMPOSITION OF JAPANESE TRADE WITH EAST ASIA: EXPANSION OF PRODUCTION NETWORKS
The Japanese import commodity composition from the East Asian countries changed from 1990 to 2011. While the share represented by products using natural resources in the form of food products, wood pulp, petroleum/coal products decreased, the share of machine products such as general machinery and electrical machinery rose greatly. These changes reflect the fact that industrialization has made progress in East Asia.
In contrast to the composition of Japanese export commodities, the Japanese import commodity composition contains large differences between imports from China, the NIEs, and ASEAN. Among import commodities from China, the share represented by food products, textile products, and petroleum/coal products fell significantly, while the share represented by electrical machinery, general machinery, and chemical products, expanded greatly. The largest share in 2011 was held by textile products, electrical machinery, and general machinery.
In the import commodity composition from the NIEs, similar changes to those of the import commodity composition from China can be observed. Nevertheless, the import commodity composition in 2011 was very different from that from China. While electrical machinery had the highest share, intermediate goods such as ferrous and non-ferrous metal products, petroleum/coal products, chemical products, and the like also accounted for high shares.
Intermediate goods hold a significant position among Japanese exports to East Asia. In fact, the intermediate good share of Japanese exports to East Asia rose from 61.5% to 69.1% from 1990 to 2011.