Trucking Japan's Transport Sector Trends - April 2020: Burden of a densely populated country

May reservations suggest that Japan railways may face its worst passenger traffic results on record. High population density has underpinned Japan's position as a "railway kingdom", but it may be about to experience the flip side of this.

27 Apr 2020

Comparison of population density

Source: Data book of the world, Global Forest Resources Assessment

This bar chart compares overall population density and population density per habitable area of Japan to Germany, UK, China, France, and USA.

Passenger services

Reservations for May suggest that both airlines and railways may be facing the worst passenger traffic results on record. We see a growing possibility that demand will not fully recover even after COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Japan's  high  population  density  in  habitable  areas  has  underpinned its position as a "railway kingdom", but it may be about to experience the flip side of this going forward.

Freight operations

In contrast to the passenger industry, which is at a historic crossroads, the freight industry is facing a common economic recession. Freight movement of producer goods appears to have declined considerably, but the decline for consumer goods has been relatively mild due to demand for home consumption. Container freight movement has also declined, but forward-looking supply adjustments have kept ship utilization rates at a high level.

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