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Ranked 3 of 26 for comprehensive power, with an overall score of 38.7 out of 100.

Lost 2.4 points (−6% change) in overall score in 2021.


Japan is a middle power in Asia.

Japan’s overall score of 38.7 was 2.4 points lower than in 2020. The country has for the first time dropped below the major power threshold of 40 points and is now considered a high performing middle power.

Tokyo continues to be the quintessential smart power, using the country’s limited resources to wield broad-based influence in the region. Japan exerts more influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s positive power gap score. But while Japan is the standout net overachiever in Asia, its positive power gap deteriorated further in 2021.

The country performs best across the economic capability, diplomatic influence, economic relationships, defence networks and cultural influence measures, in which it places a consistent 3rd place.

Tokyo has gained points in defence networks and has established itself as the lead defence dialogue partner for eleven countries in the region.

However, Japan is trending down on all other measures of power in 2021 and its margins of influence are being eroded. Tokyo has lost several points and one ranking for diplomatic influence in the year following former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resignation. The country has also struggled to sustain its once formidable regional economic clout, with a loss of 7.2 points in economic relationships in 2021.

Japan’s lowest ranking continues to be in the resilience measure, where it comes in at 9th place due to poor resource security and a negative energy trade balance.

Read more analysis in the Key Findings report . Explore further results in the Scores section.

Bilateral Influence

Bilateral trade, current dollars (2020)

Countries that influence Japan

Globally, which countries does Japan do most of its trade with?

China 26.0%

United States 14.6%

European Union 10.1%

Taiwan 5.5%

South Korea 5.5%

Countries influenced by Japan

Which countries in the region rely most on trade with Japan?

Brunei 19.2%

Thailand 11.6%

Taiwan 10.9%

Philippines 10.1%

Papua New Guinea 9.3%