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The Business Opportunities  //  Mission to Japan

TopWhat are the business opportunities in Japan?

There are more than 400 British companies enjoying success in Japan including visible high street names such as Body Shop, Paul Smith and Burberry as well as HSBC, GlaxoSmithKline and Rolls-Royce.  The UK’s service industry is also very active, from design to legal, financial and consultancy services.

Still the world’s third-largest, Japan’s economy is 4 times the size of India’s, and twice as large as the UK’s. Japan’s 125m wealthy consumers and advanced industrial base constitute the UK’s largest export market outside Europe, North America and China, worth £9.6bn.

Key sectors where there are opportunities for UK exports of goods and services are:

TopAdvanced Engineering

In a conscious effort to maintain their status as a global leader within a saturated manufacturing market, Japanese companies continue to express interest in innovative UK Advanced Engineering solutions and are receptive to new and proven technology. With their impressive track-record of dependability, quality and cutting-edge low-carbon technology, UK companies are increasingly becoming the go-to source for Japanese manufacturers. Contact us for further information.

TopEnergy, Renewables, Green Technology

Following the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami and the subsequent crippling of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, Japan’s hopes for 70% of power from nuclear by 2050 and 14 new-build nuclear reactors have been all but shelved. This, combined with the government’s plans to reduce Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020, has lead to a potentially large gap in future energy production.In 2011 Prime Minister Kan announced a review of Japan’s energy policy, adding renewables and energy efficiency as 2 new pillars to Japan’s existing pillars of nuclear and fossil fuel. Renewables of particular interest to Japan include solar PV, offshore floating, wind, tidal, wave and biomass. Consequently, potential opportunities exist for British companies seeking joint ventures or other forms of collaboration with Japanese companies in the above areas.

Moreover, there is also potential opportunity within project management. Japanese corporations such as Mitsubishi, Panasonic-Sanyo, Sharp, Hitachi, Toshiba and car manufacturers are global leaders in many energy technologies (including solar PV, wind turbines, storage batteries, low-carbon transport, smart grid applications and home energy management systems). In a fiercely competitive market they are often eager to collaborate with overseas firms whose technologies or ideas can offer them a unique edge.Contact us for further information.


Japan’s ICT industry is exciting, fast-paced and looking for cutting-edge technology from all over the world. With a greater emphasis in the 21st century placed on the importance of global rather than simply national networks, Japanese companies are increasingly on the lookout for overseas partners with state-of-the-art technologies. With their distinctive and high-tech outlook, UK companies are in a uniquely favourable position to take advantage of these potential relationships and establish a name for themselves within Japanese markets. Contact us for further information.


With a total medical expenditure of over £250 billion a year, Japan is the second largest market globally for both the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Opportunities for UK industry specialists range from the export of finished products (the UK is the largest exporter of pharmaceuticals to Japan) to Japanese outsourcing of R&D, clinical trials and regulatory affairs to their UK partners. Contact us for further information.


One of the most attractive markets for British design services, Japan has a substantial manufacturing industry, much of which is export-oriented. Contact us for further information.


Many British fashion companies who have developed a distinctive strategy for the Japanese market have been very successful. Paul Smith, for example, first became famous in Japan and now has nearly 200 stores based in the country. There is a great opportunity for both heritage brands from the UK and emerging designers to showcase their products and flourish in one of the largest fashion markets. Contact us for further information.

TopFinancial and Legal Services

UK law firms and financial institutions have been active in providing advice to the many Japanese manufacturers who have a global outreach. Tokyo is one of the major global financial centres and has a massive accumulation of personal wealth estimated at JPY1400 trillion. Contact us for further information.

TopFood and Drink

Whilst traditional culture dictates much of what Japanese people eat and drink, Japanese citizens are beginning to adopt a more diverse approach to consumption. Food and drink comprises about 5% of UK exports to Japan and products which are stereotypically associated with the UK (such as black teas, whisky, biscuits and Scottish salmon) are proving extremely popular within the Japanese markets. In addition, in the beverage industry there has been a growth in the Japanese demand for British beer.   Contact us for further information.


Japan is the Mecca of digital games; many leading games companies were born in Japan including Capcom, Namco Bandai, Square Enix Sony Computer Entertainment and Nintendo. Total revenue of Japanese digital games companies for domestic and overseas business is expected to reach almost £9 billion and the mobile content market continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. Mobile handsets have become a key platform of digital content. Thanks to the success of the iPhone, new digital media and services are now crucial for differentiation. The Japanese market is always interested in new products. Opportunities exist for advanced and innovative products, especially in the areas of content, development tools software, hardware, peripherals, animation and 3D, design services in new digital games and mobile games.. Contact us for further information.


Japan is the world’s second largest music market. Contact us for further information.