ASIMO the humanoid robot (Honda Motor Co.)
An automated car assembly plant (Nissan Motor Co.)
Economically, Japan is one of the most highly developed nations in the world. Japanese brands like Toyota, Sony, Fujifilm, and Panasonic are famous across the globe.
Manufacturing is one of Japan's strengths, but the country has few natural resources. One common pattern is for Japanese companies to import raw materials and then process them to make finished products, which are sold domestically or exported.
One of the most promising fields for future economic growth is robotics, in which Japanese technology leads the world. ASIMO, a humanoid robot developed by Honda, can not only walk on two legs but also make out what two or more people speak at one time and avoid contact with other pedestrians by foreseeing their direction of walk, all thanks to the robot's built-in audiovisual sensors. In the near future, robots will be active in a range of fields and may even live alongside humans, just like in science-fiction films.
Japan's main agricultural product is rice, and most rice eaten in Japan is home-grown. Since Japan has little arable land compared to its population, it cannot grow enough wheat, soybeans, or other major crops to feed all its citizens. In fact, Japan has one of the lowest rates of food self-sufficiency of all industrialized countries. This means it has to import a high percentage of its food from abroad. Japan does, however, have abundant marine resources. Fish is an important part of the Japanese diet, and Japan's fishing industry is very active.
Japan's transport system is highly developed, with road and rail networks covering virtually every part of the country together with extensive air and sea services.
The E5 series shinkansen boasts a speed of 300 km/h.(Railman Photo Office)
Shinkansen, or bullet trains, are express trains that travel at top speeds of 250 to 300 kilometers per hour. The Shinkansen network is a convenient way to travel around Japan. The Shinkansen is considered one of the fastest and safest railroad systems in the world. In 2012, a new model, N700A, made its debut, equipped with an automatic operating mechanism and a new type of brakes. In addition, successful test runs have been held on Maglev trains that can operate at speeds of more than 500 kilometers per hour.
Besides the Shinkansen, Japan has a passenger railway network. Many of Japan's major cities also have subway lines. The subway system in the capital Tokyo, which has over a dozen lines covering hundreds of kilometers of track, is considered to be one of the best in the world and continues to grow. Commuter rail services like these are used by millions of people every day to get to and from work or school. Japanese trains of all kinds are famed for being clean and punctual.