Japan may have been in a slump for a decade but it still has the third largest economy in the world, behind the US and China. The IMF put Japan’s GDP at $4.6 trillion in 2005.  Great stats.


"The Japanese economy is on the rebound, and e-commerce is set to benefit," says James Belcher, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, Japan Online. "In its deployment of both wired and wireless Internet platforms, and their integration, the county will be a model for the rest of the world to emulate."

eMarketer’s most recent estimates put the number of Internet users in Japan at 72.8 million.

The latest official measure of Japanese Internet penetration, released in August 2005, was 62.3% of the country’s total population.

Worldwide, Japan is third in terms of Internet users, and has 8% of users overall.

"The story of Internet access in Japan is different to that in many other countries," says Mr. Belcher. "Phone-based e-mail, mini-sites based on NTT’s iMode technology, and, increasingly, 3G-based data, are tracked as ‘mobile data,’ and account for a large portion of actual Internet access."

"In fact, almost as many people access the Internet via phone as do so via PC. This is not exclusive usage — most people use both — but it does make the Japanese market fundamentally different from other Internet-using markets," says Mr. Belcher. "US marketers may talk about the mobile Web, but it is a reality in Japan, and usage is so common that it is often not thought of as a separate Internet."

E-mail usage provides a good example. Mobile Internet access is so prevalent in Japan that if you ask users the difference between mobile and PC-based Internet, all you may get is a blank look mdash; it is all Internet to this online nation

"It may be still be a bit of a reach to suggest that the Japanese are platform-agnostic in their Internet use, but they are close," says Mr. Belcher. "One day, in the not too distant future, the line between the mobile and PC-based Internets will be just as fuzzy everywhere."

More here.