Country Listing

Japan Table of Contents



The mainstay of infrastructure development is the construction industry, which employed 9.4 percent of the labor force in 1990 and contributed some 8.5 percent of GDP. After the two oil crises in the 1970s, construction investment turned sluggish, and the share of construction investment in GNP decreased gradually. In 1987, however, business expanded through investor confidence, continued increase in corporate earnings, improvement of personal income, and rapid rise in land prices. The share of construction investment in GNP rose sharply, especially for more sophisticated and higher value-added private housing and private nonhousing structures (see table 19, Appendix).

Construction starts in FY 1990 covered a total area of about 283 million square meters, with about 134 square meters exclusively for housing. Total construction costs were estimated in excess of 49 billion.

Although demand for new private housing is expected to grow in the 1990s, even greater growth is expected for new urban office buildings. A number of large projects are underway, suggesting that the construction industry would experience continued growth throughout the 1990s. These include projects for Tokyo's waterfront and other urban redevelopment, highway construction, and new or expanded airports.

Japan's construction technology, which includes advanced earthquake-resistant designs, is among the most developed in the world (see Visual Arts , ch. 3). Major firms compete to improve quality control over all phases of design, management, and execution. Research and development focuses especially on energyrelated facilities, such as nuclear power plants and liquid natural gas (LNG) storage tanks. The largest firms are also improving their underwater construction methods.

Data as of January 1994