By Jacob L. Shapiro
With commodity prices low and little indicating that they are going to rise any time soon, it is important to identify countries that are most vulnerable to these shifting trade conditions. Official figures released in February show that Japanese exports decreased by 13 percent in January compared to the previous year, indicating Japan is also feeling the impact of the global exporters’ crisis. However, the country’s imports also declined by 18 percent, which begs the question: What are Japan’s biggest weaknesses when it comes to trade?
In terms of GDP, Japan is the third largest economy in the world, and yet, Japan’s economy is beset with a fundamental weakness. The minerals and raw materials necessary to maintain Japan’s industrial growth and high quality of life simply do not exist on the Japanese islands. Even before the Fukushima nuclear reactor accident in 2011, Japan relied on foreign sources for close to 80 percent of its energy supply. Sinc