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To which language should you translate to localize in Japan?

Will the Japanese dialect disappear?

In Japan, Japanese is generally used, which is also a standard language based on the Tokyo dialect. And there are dialects with different intonations and flexions, and slightly different everyday expressions depending on the region. With the spread of television, locals often talk in an urban style. So has the dialect gone? It seems different in the copy of the ad. At Cobit-19, many regions created posters to encourage them to stop returning home to prevent the spread of the infection. It was made in a dialect-like copy, like the voice of a family. Also, the traditional image of the region is alive and well. Kansai is a city of commerce, and the Kansai dialect fits nicely with the lines that make things discount. Perhaps because of the influence of the yakuza movie, the dialect of Hiroshima is often used in threatening scenes. Also, the Kyoto dialect speaks slowly and relaxes the listener. The copy used in the advertisement takes advantage of these local characteristics and gives the copy a nuance different from the standard language.



Official language


T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.

High proficiency (EF) – 78 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 13/24 position in Asia.


Capital: Tokyo
Currency: Japanese yen
Population: 126.75m
Population density: 347/km2


GDP: 4,937,421.88 trillion USD (2020)
GDP per capita: 39,285.2 USD ‎(2020) ‎
Exports: $623 billion (2020)


Internet users: 94% penetration, 118.3 million
Unemployment rate: 2.8% (April 2020)
Urbanisation: 91.9% (2019)
Literacy: 99% (2019)


Numbering system
Groups of 4 decimal numbers; comma as separator of thousands and point as decimal separator. There are two types of characters to express numbers: Standard and Kanji. For each number there are different pronunciations, according to the context.

Date format:  yyyy-mm-dd / dd-mm- yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 0081

Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal

Facts and data


$581 billion (2019). Crude Petroleum ($38.4B), Petroleum Gas ($31.4B), Integrated Circuits ($17.7B), Broadcasting Equipment ($17.5B), and Computers ($14.5B), importing mostly from China ($151B), United States ($63.1B), Australia ($31.8B), South Korea ($25.1B), and Chinese Taipei ($24.3B).

Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of  age)
• 48% have an account with a financial institution
• 24% have a credit card
• 2.4% have a mobile money account
• 19% make online purchases

Ease of doing business
Very Easy to conduct business (rated 78 out of 100) 31st out of 20 Asia Pacific countries 29th worldwide out of 190 countries (2020, World Bank)

Global Innovation Index

Ranked 4th out of 17 South East Asian , East Asian and Oceanian countries, 13th out of 132 worldwide.

The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.

$623 billion (2020).  Cars ($83.1B), Integrated Circuits ($31.3B), Vehicle Parts ($28B), Machinery Having Individual Functions ($19.9B), and Photo Lab Equipment ($12.1B), exporting mostly to China ($133B), United States ($112B), South Korea ($42.9B), Chinese Taipei ($42.7B), and Hong Kong ($27.2B).

Main local online stores
Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo Auctions Japan, Yahoo Shopping Japan,, Mercari, ZozoTown, Wowma, Rakuma, Qoo10 Japan

Economic freedom
‘Mostly free’ (72.1 out of 100) 6th out of 39 Asia Pacific countries 30th worldwide out of 186 countries (2019, Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal)

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal

Service Imports (2015)

Source: OEC

Service Exports (2015)

Source: OEC

Most Complex Products by PCI

Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters

Source: OEC

Most Specialised Products by RCA Index

Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Japan observed and expected exports in each product

Source: OEC

Export Opportunities by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Japan is not specialized in

Source: OEC

Preferred payment methods in Japan as of June 2019

Source: MMD Labo



Reach most of the online purchasing power

T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales. It estimates the market share of each country in relation to global e-commerce.

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Media language Japanese, English

Information channels
Japan’s broadcasting scene is technologically advanced and lively, with public and commercial media in keen competition. Five TV companies, including public NHK, run national terrestrial networks. Most of NHK’s funding comes from licence fees. Many millions of viewers subscribe to satellite and cable pay TV. News, drama, variety shows and sport – especially baseball – have big audiences. Imported TV shows are not widely shown, but Western influences are apparent in domestic TV fare. Newspapers are influential and highly trusted. National dailies sell in millions of copies, boosted by afternoon and evening editions. Some charge for online access. Journalists “find it hard to fully play their role as democracy’s watchdog because of the influence of tradition and business interests”, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). But in recent years, online media and weekly news magazines have adopted a more aggressive form of political reporting, says Freedom House.

The press

Asahi Shimbun – daily, English-language pages
Yomiuri Shimbun – daily, English-language pages
Mainichi Daily News – English-language pages
Sankei Shimbun – daily
Nikkei Asian Review – English-language pages
The Japan Times – English-language


NHK – public, operates General TV, Educational TV
English-language network
TV Asahi – national, commercial
Fuji TV – national, commercial
Nippon TV (NTV) – national, commercial
Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) – national, commercial


NHK – public, operates news/talk Radio 1, cultural/educational Radio 2, classical music-based FM Radio, external service Radio Japan
Inter FM
Tokyo commercial music station
J-Wave – Tokyo commercial music station
Tokyo FM
– Tokyo commercial network
TBS Radio – operated by Tokyo Broadcasting System

News agency

Kyodo – English-language pages
Japan Today – online news, in English

Media data source: BBC

Internet Data

Internet users
94% penetration, 118.3 million

Share of web traffic by device
39.54% mobile phones, 57.69% computers (laptops and desktops), 2.63% tablet devices, others 0.14%

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
40.89 Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
93.26 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 160.6%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 100%

Most popular web search engines
Google (74.99%), Yahoo (18.76%), Bing (5.75%), Baidu (0.21%), Duckduckgo (0.14%), Yandex Ru (0.04%)

Most used social media
Twitter(42.77%), Facebook (22.25%), Pinterest (17.92%), YouTube (9.59%),  Instagram (5.61%), Tumblr (0.84%), reddit (0.56%)

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter

Social statistics

Life expectancy
84.67 yrs (2020)

Healthcare expenditure
10.9% of GDP (2018)

Glass Ceiling Index
31 out 100, ranked 28th out of 29 countries.

The glass-ceiling index measures the environment for working women combining data on higher education, labor-force participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications, and representation in senior jobs.

Average age of the population
48.4 yrs (2020) 

Graduates (tertiary education)
Over half of 25-64 year-olds had attained tertiary education in 2018, 13 percentage points higher than the OECD average

Social statistics sources: WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF

Distribution of graduate university students in Japan as of May 2018

Source: UNESCO

Number of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants in Japan from 2009 to 2019

Source: National Police Agency (Japan)

Number of suicides related to problem at work in Japan from 2009 to 2018, by reason

Source: National Police Agency (Japan)

The Data Factbook is a work in progress project. Our community is helping us to fill it up always with new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write your advices at

Languages research

Japanese dialects map


  • Hokkaido

  • North Tohoku

  • South Tohoku

  • East Kanto

  • West Kanto

  • Echigo

  • Hokuriku

  • Gifu-Aichi

  • Nagano Yamanashi

  • Kansai

  • Unpaku

  • Shikoku

  • Chugoku

  • Hichiku

  • Honichi

  • Satsugu

The geographical distribution of languages that you will find in the maps published in this section is a work in progress. Our community is helping us to fill it up with always new and updated data. Your contribution is precious. If you want to help us, please write to

Photo credit: Alexander Smagin, Unsplash