Information on Japan for EU Companies

When seeking to do business abroad, it is essential to first get to know the country that you are targeting. Awareness about Japan’s politics, economics and social environment is a considerable asset. To help you improve your knowledge about Japan, and in accordance with the project of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) to develop a global platform providing EU businesses with relevant information about business with third countries, the EU-Japan Centre has created this online information portal for European companies seeking to break into the Japanese market. It aims to bring together and make available all online in­formation which could be beneficial to EU companies wishing to develop business in or with Japan.

The EU Business in Japan (EUBIJ) project was officially launched in January 2014.

To gain full access to the information contained on this site, as well as to the numerous side activities, you must be a member.

To be eligible as a member, you should work:

  • either for an EU company wishing to work with/in Japan and must be the end-user of the available information/services;
  • or for a non-profit organisation supporting EU companies in their internationalisation process with Japan.

REGISTER NOW!

Feel free to register now (for free!). You will be informed if your registration has been accepted or rejected. Please be aware that the EU-Japan Centre is providing this content for free. Neither the information contained on this site nor the side activities may be used for commercial purposes.

Website

The EU-Japan Centre has screened more than 1,600 links to Japan-related information and is pleased to make its findings available to you online. This website comprises several chapters covering every aspect of doing business in or with Japan.

Why Japan?

There are numerous reasons for investing in Japan: For starters, Japan is a large country which offers diverse business opportunities for those wishing to embark upon a potantially lucrative project. Forty seven prefectures spanning from the metropolitan area of Tokyo to the snow covered tops of Hokkaido each present a wide range of opportunities to explore. Cultural and commercial events fill the calendar, and a mix of traditional customs and the latest trends characterise the day to day life of the Japanese. The proportion of elderly people and single women is skyrocketing revealing new growing sectors of activity. Due to its unique and highly dynamic character, the Japanese market is an opportunity worth seizing with both hands!

Issues

There are a wide range of possible strategies for entering the Japanese market. In order to choose the most suitable one for your business you have to be aware of the logistical difficulties to investing in Japan. In addition to understanding the unique behaviour of Japanese consumers and businessmen (see “Culture”) you must be prepared for a wide range of potential legal and regulatory issues. Japan is a relatively closed market and you need to be well informed in order to overcome its various potential obstacles. This chapter will provide you with information and advice on operational and financial issues in order to prepare you for when investment and business opportunities begin to appear. Furthermore if you are more of a researcher, we can also provide you with data on various R&D centres and clusters. This chapter looks at cross-cutting operational issues which companies may face when starting or developing their activities in Japan or with Japanese businesses.

Sectors

Despite an overall economic slowdown beginning in the 1990s, Japanese industries remain amongst the most highly advanced and innovative worldwide. In many manufacturing industries – particularly in the electronics and automotive sectors – the term “Japanese” is synonymous with high quality and technologically advanced products, and in a wide variety of sectors, Japanese companies are world leaders in both production and technological advancements in their respective fields.

In 2012, industry accounted for 27.5% of Japan’s GDP. Major Japanese industries include automotive, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, and processed foods. Despite this, it is services which comprise the biggest part of the Japanese economy, responsible for 71.4% of GDP in 2012. Major services in Japan include banking, insurance, retailing, transportation and telecommunications. Agriculture is responsible for the remainder, and although its contribution to GDP is small, agriculture is still a highly important element of Japan’s economy and society.

The objective of this chapter is to provide you with a portal to all publicly available online information relating to the current status of and recent developments within Japanese industries and business sectors.

Cross-Cultural Issues

For hundreds of years, Japan was almost completely cut off from the outside world, and the effects of this policy of isolationism can still be felt today. Despite being an economic and cultural superpower, Japan’s unique geographical and historical circumstances have resulted in the emergence of a distinctive society and culture which may seem intimidating for European entrepreneurs seeking to invest in Japan. Indeed, our surveys of EU businesses with offices and subsidiaries in Japan have concluded that the most common difficulties for European businesses seeking to enter the Japanese market are usually related to cultural matters and to understanding the Japanese approach to business. Therefore, acquiring this culture-related knowledge is of fundamental importance.

The aim of this chapter is to provide you with information on the various cultural barriers to entering the Japanese market.

Support

In order to benefit from wider support, members will have exclusive access to:

  • A database of non-profit organisations offering support to EU companies in their internationalisation process with Japan.
  • A database of specially selected experts who have kindly agreed to share their knowl­edge and to cooperate on this project by providing their valuable insight through reports and e-learning sessions. Furthermore, these experts are at your full disposal to deliver tailored support.

Library

In addition to the information pages available on this site and side activities, EUBIJ members have exclusive access to an extensive library of additional material, such as:

  • Downloadable Publications: market reports, fact sheets, newsletters, etc.
  • E-learning Sessions: There will also be specially created audio and video content mainly covering cross-cultural issues.
  • Trade Fairs: find all you need to know about the most important trade fairs
  • Training Sessions: provided on this page are details about the EU-funded information training sessions.
  • Useful Links: all the links you need on a single page
  • Q&A: any questions we receive will be shared on this page so that other members can benefit from the response

News

Members wishing to be kept informed will be notified of any updates that may interest them

Events

“About Japan” Webinars Series

To give participants the opportunity to improve their knowledge of Japan from the comfort of their desks, we have launched our "About Japan" webinar series, which began on the 21st of January 2014 and will continue throughout the year. This webinar series will cover a wide range of important topics such as sector-related information and cross-cutting or cross-cultural issues.

A full list of the fortcoming webinars is available here.