What Makes Japan Different From the Philippines?

From their official language to their GDP, these two countries are very different in several ways.

Left Photo Pixabay / Right Photo Pixabay

Facts and Figures About Japan Compared to the Philippines

Japan and the Philippines have had a long history together. However, these two countries are very different in several ways. Here are some facts and statistical figures of Japan compared to the Philippines. 

Fast Facts



The Philippines

Country Name

Japan (Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku)

Republic of the Philippines







Area (in sq. km) 

377,971 km²

Number of islands: 6,852

300,000 km²

Number of islands: 7,641

Official Language

Japanese (Nihongo)

Filipino (Tagalog) 







Catholic           86%

Christianity?     8%

Hinduism           4%

Others???     2%


(1 billion USD)



Data sourced from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, Worldbank 2017.

What’s in a name?

Japan is one of the countries in East Asia. The official name of the country is
Nippon-koku or Nihon-koku, which literally means the State of JapanTokyo, accounting for more than 10% of the whole country, is the capital of Japan. The area it covers is 377,971 km² with a population of 1,267,100,000, with most of the density being in the capital, Tokyo. The Philippines, on the other hand, is part of Southeast Asia. It covers 300,000 km² in area and 100,981,437 in population.

The language and religion

The official language of Japan is called
Nihongo or the Japanese language, and the English fluency level is low. Freedom of religion is recognized in the constitution. Because of this, the national religion is not defined. Shintoism and Buddhism, however, share the majority. In the Philippines, the official language is Filipino. Most Filipinos can speak English, which makes it one of the country’s official languages as well. Eighty-six percent of the Filipino population are Catholic, making it the only predominantly Christian country in Asia.

Let’s talk numbers

In 2018, Japan’s GDP growth rate was at 0.8%. The Nominal GDP at ¥548.9 trillion has been increasing for the past 7 years. While being the third-largest economy in terms of GDP next to the United States and China, the economic development has been sluggish since the collapse of the bubble economy. At that time (1993), Japan was the second-largest economy.

According to the government’s latest economic report, “In FY2018,  the Japanese economy is recovering at a moderate pace. While exports are almost flat, business investment is increasing, supported by the record-high corporate profits, and private consumption is improving, reflecting improvements in the employment and income situation.” (Cabinet Office, 2019)

Comparison of the Population Structure Between the Philippines and Japan

(Data sourced from PopulationPyramid.net).

Japan’s population peaked in 2008 with 1.28 billion people, and has been steadily declining since. Compared to Japan, the Philippines’ population is continuously increasing at a fast pace throughout the years. The population issue of Japan has been brought up many times in the media for the past years. In 2017, people aged 65 and older made up 27.7% of the total population with 35.15 million people. (The working age population aged 15 to 64 years old made up 60% of the population with 75.96 million people, and the young population aged 0 to 14 garnered 12.3% with 15.59 million.)


Just looking at the trends of these figures, it is said that in 2053, the population will be less than 100 million and by 2065 the population will dwindle down to 88.08 million. At that time, the proportion of the youth population, working age population, and elderly population is estimated to be 10.2%, 51.4%, and 38.4%, respectively. 

Future Prospects About Working in Japan

Because of the declining birthrate and the increasing aging population, the working-age population (the labor force) is expected to decline. With this, the employment rate has risen as companies try to keep up with the economy, while the unemployment rate has remained at a low 2.4%
as of April 2019. 

Along with this,
minimum wages have increased by 3% for three straight years because of labor shortages and the recovering economy. In October 2018, minimum wage legal standard became ¥874, with Tokyo’s minimum wage rising to ¥985 an hour. The competition for securing human resources is fierce, making the process of hiring difficult without raising the salary.

 (22 August 2019)

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