Exporting to Japan
Stable business environment
Japan is an advanced economy and a stable place for the UK to do business, with strong economic and political ties between the 2 countries. A track record of success at home can be effective here if you are willing to take some steps to adapt to Japanese business culture.
Large consumer market
Japan has a large, rich, and highly-educated consumer market who are early adopters of new products and services.
Growth of e-commerce
The e-commerce market in Japan is set to increase by 29% between 2018 and 2022 to be worth $203.90 billion, according to Worldpay’s 2018 Global Payments report.
Opportunities for exporters
There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Japan have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.
There is an emerging start-up culture and an increasing openness to innovation and collaboration.
Digital technologies such as big data analytics, AI, robotics and the Internet of Things are seen as powerful solutions to Japan’s chronic social challenges including an ageing population, social polarisation, depopulation and constraints related to energy and the environment.
Demand for UK expertise
There is high demand for innovative AI and Internet of Things tech. This is especially true in life sciences (biopharma, medtech), fintech and cyber security, areas in which the UK is strong. Japanese financial institutions are under pressure to undertake digital transformation, in particular for anti-money laundering technologies.
Liberalisation of the market
The electricity and gas markets in Japan are going through considerable reforms. First came retail market liberalisation and now legal unbundling is starting. UK companies began this journey 20 years ago and so have a wealth of relevant experience.
Growth in areas of UK expertise
There is demand for expertise in renewable energy, low-carbon energy generation, and smart energy management technologies.
Nuclear decommissioning has begun
The UK has considerable experience in nuclear decommissioning, a journey Japan is just starting following the Fukushima Dai-ichi incident. Japan has largely aligned the regulatory structures to mirror the UK’s and so UK companies are well placed to support the efforts in Japan.
Advanced therapy is a key growth area. Japan’s regulatory framework gives you early market access to the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market. All products approved under the Japanese Pharmaceutical Law will receive the national health insurance (NHI) price. This enables drug companies to undertake further clinical work in real clinical settings.
Key areas of interest include innovative digital technologies to support early diagnostics of cancer and heart and cerebrovascular diseases. Venture capitalists in a wide range of industries, from medical and pharmaceutical to ICT/ mobile are looking for R&D collaborations and are willing to invest.
Licensing and R&D
Research-based Japanese pharmaceutical companies are looking for in-licensing opportunities to take early drug molecules to enhance development pipelines. Development stages range from pre-clinical to Phase I/II in different therapeutic areas with many focusing on oncology. They are also looking for collaborative research opportunities with universities under open innovation and are willing to invest.