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indicator value unit
Population 127.2 mil.
Visitors per year 8.4 mil.
Renewable energy 4.2 %

How’s Life?

Japan performs well across a number  of well-being dimensions relative to other countries in the Better Life Index. Japan outperforms the average in  education,  safety and environmental quality. It underperforms average in income, social connections, civic engagement and life satisfaction. These assessments are based on available selected data.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Japan, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 28 872 a year, less than the OECD average of USD 30 490 a year.

In terms of employment, about 77% of people aged 15 to 64 in Japan have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 84% of men are in paid work, compared with 71% of women. In Japan, more employees work very long hours in paid work than the OECD average of 10%.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Japan, more adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education than the OECD average of 79%. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 520 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 488. On average in Japan, girls outperformed boys by 3 points, below the average OECD gap of 5 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Japan is around 84 years, three years higher than the OECD average of 81 years. Life expectancy for women is 88 years, compared with 81 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 13.7 micrograms per cubic meter, slightly below the OECD average of 14 micrograms per cubic meter. In Japan, 87% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, higher than the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Japan, where 89% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, less than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 53% during recent elections, lower than the OECD average of 69%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 53% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 49%.

When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Japanese people gave it a 6.1 grade on average, lower than the OECD average of 6.7.


For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.


OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Japan

OECD’s periodic surveys of the Japanese economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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Japan in Detail