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Accounting for these fluctuations through use of the Atlas method, Japan is estimated to have a GDP per capita of around ,490.
In the three decades of economic development following 1960, rapid economic growth referred to as the Japanese post-war economic miracle occurred.
By the guidance of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, with average growth rates of 10% in the 1960s, 5% in the 1970s, and 4% in the 1980s, Japan was able to establish and maintain itself as the world's second largest economy from 1978 until 2010, when it was surpassed by the People's Republic of China.
A longtime global economic power and Western ally, Japan has had a history of revolving-door leadership in recent years.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in office since 2012 and elected to a historic third term in October 2017, has provided much-needed political stability but has been hampered by political scandals.
Japanese whaling, ostensibly for research purposes, has been sued as illegal under international law.
Although many kinds of minerals were extracted throughout the country, most mineral resources had to be imported in the postwar era.
By 1990, income per capita in Japan equalled or surpassed that in most countries in the West.
During the second half of the 1980s, rising stock and real estate prices created an economic bubble.
This strategy of economic development necessitated the establishment of a strong economic infrastructure to provide the needed energy, transportation, communications, and technological know-how.
Deposits of gold, magnesium, and silver meet current industrial demands, but Japan is dependent on foreign sources for many of the minerals essential to modern industry.