Japan Lacking Resources

Published By: Hessa Meshar
29 December 2016


Japan had become one of the largest industrial countries, with a high standard of living although it has a poor domestic resource base. Most of the resources that are used to manufacture goods are imported; because the resources in Japan are scarce.


Energy and Natural Resources

Fossil fuel (ex:Petroleum); is the most important natural resource that is classified as a need. Unfortunately, Japan almost has no fossil fuel resources with only one field in northern Honshu and Hokkaido that supplies less than 1% of Japan’s demand. Since 1980, Japan oil imports depended greatly on the Middle East, which now provides 90% of Japan’s oil imports. Coal in Japan is costly to mine, and they are inconveniently located in respect with industrial areas. Energy is highly needed in Japan, as the oil is declining; due to scarcity , Japan also needs to import and use non-oil energy. That’s why water is supplied as a source of energy making Japan as one of the largest hydroelectric industries.


Minerals and Metals

Japan has an adequate supply for minerals such as gold, magnesium, and silver, but it still imports large amounts of other essential minerals for manufacturing electronics like iron and copper. There are over 500 people built silver mines in Omori. During the 16th and 17th century, silver mines were at the peak of production with producing around 38 tons of silver. At that time, Japan produced one third of the world’s high quality silver. Japan also has titanium and sheets mica. Titanium used in jet engines and airframes, and sheet mica is used in electronic and electrical equipment processes. Japan was once a leading producer of copper, but the mines at Ashio have been depleted and closed. A gold mine in the Hishikari Hills contains some of the world’s purest gold. There was about 6800 tons of gold produced which is equivalent to16% of the total reserves in the world’s gold mines.  


Under the Sea  

The geographical location of Japan allowed it to be surrounded with significant coastal water which provided the country with fish and seafood. It is also one of the biggest Fish industry in the world. Yet, because the demand is very high, Japan has to import more food from other counties. The sea floors surrounding Japan are rich in Kuroko. Japanese black ore contains extremely high quality zinc, lead, copper and other metals.


Natural Resources in Forests

Japan is heavily forested, and the demand of world products exceeded the domestic production. Japan is in the first place of the world’s largest importers. 70% of Japan is covered by forests yet only 80% of the timber is imported. That’s because the logging and the transportation of timber’s costs are high. Japan also use its forests to produce papers, and it has one of the largest paper companies. Cutting trees had a negative impact on the ecosystem because forest owners cut all of the trees without planting new ones.


In conclusion, Japan doesn’t have many resources, and it depends mostly on importing natural resources from other countries, but it still managed to be one of the largest industrial countries with good standards of living.








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