Japan Ranks High in 2024 Human Freedom Index

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Japan has been ranked 16th out of 165 countries and territories in the 2023 Human Freedom Index (HFI), the highest in Asia after Taiwan (12th).

The annual HFI report measures personal, civil, and economic freedoms using 86 indicators across areas like rule of law, freedom of expression, trade, and regulation. This year’s report shows that global freedom has declined sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan’s Human Freedom Index Score Breakdown

CategoryScore
Overall8.28
Personal Freedom8.98
Economic Freedom7.97
Rule of Law8.0
Security and Safety9.3
Movement8.5
Religion9.7
Expression/Information8.9
Relationships9.1
Size of Government6.6
Legal System & Property Rights8.2
Sound Money8.9
Freedom to Trade8.4
Regulation7.9

With an overall score of 8.28 out of 10, Japan performed well across most indicators of freedom. It received strong scores for personal freedoms like safety (9.3), religion (9.7), information freedom (8.9), and others. On the economic side, Japan was weakest on size of government (6.6) but ranked high on trade freedom (8.4), legal system and property rights (8.2), and regulation (7.9).

CountryOverall ScoreOverall Rank
Taiwan8.5612
Japan8.2816
South Korea8.3928
China5.57149

Compared to last year, Japan’s ranking increased by one spot while its overall HFI score was unchanged. The country has consistently placed in the top 20 freest countries and regions over the past decade.

Japan was also noted for having the 8th highest level of economic freedom globally. The report found a correlation between higher levels of freedom and prosperity – the average income in the most free quartile of countries was over three times that of the least free quartile.

China ranked very low at 150 out of 165 countries, with an overall freedom score of just 5.57 out of 10. This places China near the bottom quartile of countries in terms of freedom. Key areas where China performs poorly are rule of law, freedom of expression and information, and economic freedom. The one-party communist system imposes strict limits on civil liberties.

The United States and United Kingdom were tied at 17th place, with freedom scores of 8.73. As mature democracies that uphold the rule of law and civil rights, they perform well in most indicators of personal freedom. But there is room for improvement in areas like regulation and trade freedom.

India ranked 118th with a score of 6.39. Despite being the world’s largest democracy, India continues to grapple with challenges around poverty, inequality and governance issues that constrain economic and social freedoms. Personal rights like religious freedom (8.7) score higher than legal and regulatory factors.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran ranked very low at 154th and 159th respectively. Their authoritarian political systems severely limit personal freedoms in multiple areas. Economic freedom is also undermined by heavy state control and regulation.

Overall, the data shows substantial variation in how countries uphold and enable human freedom across different dimensions like rule of law, civil liberties, regulation, and economic systems. Significant room for progress remains even among democracies. China and the Middle East are notable laggards, while European nations lead globally.

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