ABSTRACT Rock phosphate (RP) is traditionally solubilized by chemical process causing high cost and environmental pollution. To reduce process cost and protect environment, RP solubilization by Aspergillus japonicus was studied and its mechanisms were discussed. Results show that A. japonicus could effectively solubilize RP in NBRIP medium. RP solubilization by A. japonicus included direct and indirect actions of the strain on RP. Cells of A. japonicus attached rapidly to RP surface and the RP surface was seriously corroded by the strain. A. japonicus excreted multiple organic acids, and followed by a significant increase of titratable acidity and decrease of pH in the culture. A positive correlation between content of soluble phosphate and quantity of titratable acidity but a negative correlation between content of soluble phosphate and pH were observed. Results of abiotic solubilization of RP using organic and inorganic acids indicated that the release of soluble phosphate was significantly lower than that of inoculated with A. japonicus. Higher release of soluble phosphate and pH reduction achieved when using ammonium nitrogen rather than nitrate nitrogen.