Button picked up his third Formula One victory of the year by holding off Fernando Alonso, driving for Ferrari, and Vettel over the last stages of the 53-lap race. He won earlier this year at Canada and Hungary.
He finished the 191-mile race at the Suzuka Circuit in 1 hour, 30 minutes, 53 seconds. Alonso was second 1.2 seconds back and Vettel ended up 2 seconds behind Button.
The third-place finish was the second-worst of the year for Vettel, who drives for Red Bull Racing. He was fourth at Germany. However, he's won nine times this year and also has two seconds.
That totals 324 points in the drivers' championship standings, easily outpacing Button, who is second at 210 points, while Alonso is third at 202. It is Vettel's second consecutive drivers' championship.
There are four races remaining on the Formula One 2011 calendar. The circuit is next at the Korean Grand Prix on Oct. 16.