Companies that wish to supply goods and services to Japanese government entities need to obtain supplier qualification in order to be eligible to take part in bid on government tenders. For national government institutions, and organisations falling directly under the jurisdiction of those institutions, the so-called Unified Supplier Qualification System or touitsu shikaku shinsa exists.
This system means that prospective suppliers can apply at one of the participating institutions and will receive a qualification valid for a large number of national and regional government entities and their affiliated organizations (List here, from page 32). The application is free of charge and will take a few weeks to be processed at the most, if all documentation is present. The qualification is valid for a maximum period of three years, depending on the time the application is done. After this period, the application will need to be repeated i.e. there is no automatic renewal.
The review for the Unified Supplier Qualification will result in a classification ranging from A to D, which largely depend on the size of the company. In the majority of tenders it is stipulated which class of companies is eligible to place bids, although many tenders place no restrictions. All documentation required needs to be submitted in Japanese, foreign documents will need to have Japanese translations added.
It is possible to apply online once all documentation has been prepared. It is also possible to do part of the application online and send attached documentation separately by mail. In practice however, it is advised to do the application in person or by a representative and have the documentation checked on the spot.
The following documents need to be prepared for the application (In case of mailed application).
Documents issued by public offices must be less than 3 months old and documents must be clearly printed.
Source: Application guidelines. Version December 2015 (Zip-file, In Japanese)
In case you wish to do the application yourself, please refer the practical guide (Word/PDF ) we have prepared here. It is however strongly advised to have the application prepared by someone knowledgeable in Japanese, or make use of the JTPP Helpdesk Supplier Qualification Support Service.
- Obtaining Unified Supplier Qualification (touitsushikakushinsa) - A practical Guide – (Word)
- Sample of supplier notification with explanation in English (PDF)
- Business history template with English explanation (Word/PDF)
- Sample letter of attorney with English explanation (Word/PDF)
- Foreign character notification (gaishitodoke) with explanation (PDF)
- Foreign character notification (gaishitodoke) (PDF)
- List of Japanese Standard Industry Classification (Word)
- JIS Character Codes (In Japanese) (PDF)
- List of characters which can be used in application (in Japanese) (PDF)