Title: Japan is more a producer of finished goods than a supplier of raw materials.
Japan has historically been a resource-poor country. It lacks the petroleum, copper or tantalums that have enriched Saudi Arabia, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic
of Congo. (Though there were significant deposits of silver in Japan, they have since been exhausted.) As a result, the production of raw materials has not been an economic option for the Japanese.
Since the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, Japan has sought to industrialize to keep up with the Western nations that it feared were coming to dominate East Asia. Industrialization means the building of factories and related externalities in order to produce finished products. Following World War II, Japan sought to bolster its war-torn economy with labor-intensive, value-added products such as steel and cargo ships. As we can see today, Japan has made the leap to high technology goods such as computers, televisions, and cell phones. These are all value-added finished goods that are in great demand around the world because of their high quality and sophisticated design.