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Current scholarly endeavours have revealed that trade relations between Nigeria and Japan is
understudied. While emphasis have been laid heavily on the trade relations between Nigeria and
Western nations, not much have been done to investigate the impact of bilateral trade relations
between Nigeria and Japan. This study seeks to address the gap by examining the following
research questions: Did the volume of trade between Nigeria and Japan impact on Nigeria
economic development? Did the foreign direct investment (FDI) from Japan to Nigerian iron and
steel industry enhance economic development? This study is anchored on the Marxian strand of
the theory of political economy. It obtained the data from secondary sources, and analysed same
using the qualitative descriptive method. We found that the volume of trade between Nigeria and
japan impacted on the economic development of Nigeria. We also found that FDI from Japan to
Nigerian iron and steel industry enhanced economic development. We recommend, therefore,
that government should invest more in exploring and improving trade and technological
exchanges between Nigeria and Japan to boost local capacity and guarantee sustainable
economic development. And also to sustain and improve on the aspects of the trade that have
been very mutually benefiting.


1.1. Background of the Study
Nigeria-Japan relations date back to the period before Nigeria became an independent state.
Although contacts began from the early 1930
s, trade relations can be traced back to as early as
1914 when Lord Fredrick Lugard, the British Colonial Administrator amalgamated the Northern
and the Southern parts of the country. From the British colonial records for the colony and
protectorate of Nigeria, Falola and Ogunremi (1983) have dated the first exchange of goods to
that year with Japan
s share of total Nigerian trade of 6.9m. This exchange however, not only
remained at a very minimal level but lacked mutuality. Nigeria did not record the export of any
goods to Japan until 1929. Geographically, Japan is very far from Nigeria. Politically, Japanese
imperialistic quest did not extend to this part of the world. It was limited to countries in the
neighbouring East Asia and the Pacific between 1930 and 1945. During this period, Japan was
preoccupied with the annexation of Korea while European colonial powers were in parts of Asia
and Africa. Colonial African territories were in the hands of Germany, Britain, France, Portugal
and Italy. Perhaps, the fear of competition with these powers discouraged Japan from Africa.
(Owoeye, 1986)

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