Earth Sciences

What are the natural resources of Japan?

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Answered 2014-05-25 09:08:48

Up until mid 2012, it was believed that Japan had very few Natural Resources. Only about a quarter of the land is suitable for agricultural purposes. Forestry is important, and about 65% of the land area is used for forestry. However, the country uses as much as it produces, with high demand for wood and wood products. Prior to the war, it was a significant producer of rice, but that changed after the war, with the shift towards manufacturing. Because of its proximity to the ocean, and the fact that it is an island, fish is regarded as one of its natural resources.

Until 2012, Japan was thought to have no significant mineral resources. However, in September 2012, it was revealed that a large deposit of rare earth minerals - about 6.8 million tonnes - had been found sitting under the seabed near a far eastern Japanese island and within Japan's exclusive economic zone. The deposit of valuable minerals, used in electric cars, iPods, powerful magnets, batteries, LED lights, lasers, wind turbines and missiles, is believed to be enough to supply Japan's hi-tech industry for 200 years, and includes the rare mineral dysprosium, which is used in the engines of hybrid cars.

A significant natural resource would be Japan's education system and labour force. These are one of the reasons for Japan's economic success. Most of Japan's supplies are imported due to the lack of natural resources on the island.

Japan does not have sufficient natural energy resources for its own needs. It's the world's largest importer of coal and liquefied natural gas, and the second largest importer of oil.

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