Country Listing

Japan Table of Contents



Australia and New Zealand were predominantly sources of food and raw materials for Japan. In 1990 Australia accounted for 5.3 percent of total Japanese imports, a share that held relatively steady in the late 1980s, while New Zealand accounted for less than 1 percent. Because they provided raw materials, both nations had trade surpluses with Japan. Australia was the largest single supplier of coal, iron ore, wool, and sugar to Japan in 1990, while New Zealand was the second largest supplier of wool.

Resource development projects in Australia attracted Japanese capital, as did trade protectionism by necessitating local production for the Australian market. Investments in Australia totaled US$8.1 billion in 1988, accounting for 4.4 percent of Japanese direct investment abroad. But, because of the broadening reach of Japan's foreign investment, this share had been declining, down from 5.9 percent in 1980. During the 1980s, Japanese real estate investment increased in Australia, particularly in the ocean resort area known as the Gold Coast, where Japanese presence was strong enough to create some resentment.

The trade of both Australia and New Zealand had shifted away from other Commonwealth of Nations countries toward Asia. Japan in particular had emerged as the leading trading partner for these two countries. Faced with growing interdependence with Asia, Australia joined Japan in actively calling for greater consultation and cooperation among Pacific nations. Still, Australia and New Zealand faced quotas, high tariffs, and unusual standards barriers in exporting agricultural products, including beef, butter, and apples, to Japan.

Data as of January 1994