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The third largest economy in the world, Japan, is a fascinating country rich in history and culture. It leads in the development of cutting edge of technology while honoring its traditions. Japan continues to be the high-tech powerhouse economy of Asia, with a gross domestic product (GDP) 1.5 the size of the UK and per capita GDP 6 times that of China. In its economic growth reading released in 2014, Japan’s GDP grew at an annualized rate of 6.7 percent for the January-March quarter, the sixth consecutive quarterly increase. This data means that Japan continues to expand and grow in a number of impressive statistics – which includes that the economy of Tokyo is greater than that of all Russia, while the Chubu region of central Japan is worth more than the GDP of South Korea.
As a member of the G-7 and important leader in Asia, Japan’s economy has both a huge, middle-class consumer base and a world-famous manufacturing base. Japanese companies have an international presence, both in terms of supply chain and market share, and have a significant commercial influence in global markets.
The Japanese market is known for its unique business practices that can become barriers to foreign companies, which include close business linkages. In addition, Japanese consumers are also famous for high quality and standards expectations. There are several cultural specificities and linguistic issues that can be a challenge for companies wishing to enter the market.
Tools and Resources to Unlock the Japanese Market
Successfully entering and thriving in the prosperous Japanese market can be an extremely daunting task for foreign companies. Japan’s unique business practices combined with cultural specificities and the language barrier can be an impediment to a business’s victory. However, in today’s digital world, there are several tools and websites that can be a rich source of information on trends in Japanese industries, businesses opportunities, and guides on how to navigate in this ever-growing market.
The following online sources can provide useful and relevant information on the Japanese market to non-Japanese speakers:
Export to Japan Website
Export to Japan is a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom that was founded in July 2013. They are a partnership formed between the UK Trade & Investment, the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, British Airways and Business Link Japan. The mission of this organization is to provide businesses with the necessary support that they need in order to find success in one of the world’s most prosperous economies, Japan.
Their website provides insights into several industries, which include advanced engineering, business service, chemicals, consumer goods, cybersecurity, defense and security, design, digital media, education and training, emerging technologies, energy, fashion, financial, food and drink, IT and communications, life sciences, nuclear and space. Moreover, several step-by-step guides can also be found within the website. These guides cover a wide range of activities such as overview and details of the Japanese market, routes to market, sales, and marketing, setting up a business, HR and recruitment, legal services, exportation, payment, and pricing, as well as other business advice. This website is a rich resource and very useful tool for those wishing to set up a business in Japan; it can be accessed at http://www.exporttojapan.co.uk/.
JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) Website
JETRO, which is the acronym for the Japan External Trade Organization, is a non-profit, government-related organization which aims to encourage mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Since its establishment in 1958, JETRO’s original objective was to promote Japanese export abroad; however, at present, their core focus has changed into promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and supporting small to medium sized Japanese companies maximize their global export potential. In addition, JETRO also offers information and support to foreign companies that are aiming for successful entry and expansion in the Japanese market.
Through the JETRO website, businesses can find relevant information about the Japanese market, business opportunities, steps on how to set up a business, timely market intelligence, current information on the laws and regulations surrounding new business operation in Japan, as well as several reports and statistics. The JETRO website can be accessed at https://www.jetro.go.jp/en.
The Japan Times
Established in 1897, The Japan Times is the oldest and largest English-language daily newspaper that is circulated in Japan. This circulation reaches the largest number of non-Japanese readers residing in Japan by far. This newspaper is characterized by quality writing that comes from independent reporting and editorial policy. Journalists write original material in English based on their own reporting instead of relying on material translated from Japanese, which results in quality articles on subjects of wide-ranging interest.
The Japan Times website offers its readers the newest and freshest news on numerous industries and fields, as well as opinion pieces. It can provide the most updated information about what’s going on in the Japanese Market. Check out their website at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/.
Export.gov is a website based in the US which aims to support US companies plan, develop and execute international sales strategies essential to succeed in today’s global marketplace. It is developed by international trade specialists and economists, wherein trusted market intelligence, practical advice and business tools to help understand how to export, connect with foreign buyers, and expand operations in new markets can be found.
This online source features a Country Commercial Guide which consolidates information about market conditions, opportunities, regulations, and business customs for over 125 countries prepared by trade and industry experts at U.S. embassies worldwide. These guides are an excellent starting point to find relevant knowledge about doing business overseas.
Export.gov’s Country Commercial Guide for Japan can be found at https://www.export.gov/article?id=Japan-Market-Overview.
Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry Website
The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, otherwise known as METI is a government institution with a mission to develop Japan’s economy and industry by promoting economic vitality in the private sector and advancing international trade relationships. METI is also in charge of securing constant and efficient supplies of energy and mineral resources for Japan. In addition, METI outlines policies for international trade and investment, structural reforms, and energy. It also endorses Japanese pop culture across the globe through the Cool Japan Initiative. Moreover, METI drafts and amends laws in these areas while implementing and administering prevailing legislation and regulations. In partnership with the private sector, METI provides information and advice based on insights into domestic and international industries to businesses investing in Japan.
The METI website provides the most recent statistical information about Japan’s economy and industry. It also features white papers and reports that provide insights about Japan’s market. Access their website at http://www.meti.go.jp/english/.
Japan Industry News Website
Japan Industry News aims to deliver news on Japan’s different industries in the English language. This online source is establishing partnerships with Japan’s leading industrial newspapers to bring readers their insights into English. It serves professionals who need to know more about trends in the industry, product and technology news, market insights, and other relevant news in the Japanese economy.
The Japan Industry News Website features the latest news articles regarding a broad range of industries in Japan, an overview as well as an in-depth description of Japan’s market and economy. Their website can be reached at https://www.japanindustrynews.com/
Info Cubic Blog
And, of course our own blog 🙂
Japan is one of the strongest economies in the world; thus, it offers many opportunities that businesses can tap into. However, entering the Japanese market poses many challenges especially to foreign companies such as unique business practices, high quality and standards expectations, cultural specificities and the language barrier.
Success in establishing a business in Japan seems like an overwhelming mission. Today’s online world offers a solution, nevertheless. There are several tools and resources that companies can access on the internet that can help them find their way in Japan’s booming economy. These sources provide the latest statistics and insights into industries in the Japanese market. Tools and resources include the Export to Japan website, the JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) website, The Japan Times, Export.gov, (METI) Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry website, Japan Industry News website, and the Info Cubic blog. All of these can be very useful for non-Japanese speakers who are seeking more information about current market trends and are looking to flourish in one of the largest economies in the world.