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Keyword 'Japan':
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Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government

394,744 sq km
(52,411 sq mi)

127,420,000 (2010 est.)

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Views from Japan:

Views from researchers based in the country
Noriko Nakano - Hitoshi Iwashita - Hideo Kobayashi

Noriko Nakano Noriko Nakano, President, Japan Direct Research Limited

Japan holds an interesting position in the global economy. As the part of Asian countries, Japan has been benefited from prosperities of neighboring Asian countries such as China by exporting industrial materials and products. Meanwhile, Japan has been losing foreign companies in the domestic market because of the declining population, the high corporation tax, and high yen against other currencies.

Some people may think that foreign companies completely lose their interests in Japan, but they do not. Japan remains to be an interesting place for foreign companies to get ideas for product innovations. We are still requested by foreign companies to share information about the latest trend in the Japanese market. Places like Akihabara, keep attracting foreigners as a shopping area for electronics and anime products, too. The visitors are fascinated with many latest consumer electronics at stores.

While the Japanese market is seen as shrinking, product innovations in the Japanese market are not shrinking at all.

Hitoshi Iwashita Value Associates Inc. Asian Market Entry Consulting

Generally speaking Japan, one of the biggest developed countries, is facing a big challenge which no other market has experienced so far: an ageing society and decreasing birthrate.

In 2005 the population of Japan started to decrease for the first time since World War II. It is forecast to continue to decrease in the next couple of decades.

This implies a question: should we enter and develop an ageing and shrinking market such as Japan?

You might think ‘NO’ is the answer - however, we must always be aware of the business opportunity behind market changes.

For example in Japan there are huge growing markets, especially in health care for elders. Health care service and credit card issuers are starting to provide health care desks and second opinions, and in the food industry, there is a shift in consumer preferences from high volume inexpensive product to more health care, organic healthy food in a small package.

As an example of apparel market entry in Japan, this year H&M entered and planned to open 3 stores by the end of 2008. A potential opportunity for stylish apparel where few competitors exist?

Hideo Kobayashi Hideo Kobayashi, General Manager in the Global Research Division of IID, Inc.

Japanese high tech product developments continue to lead the world, particularly in transportation machinery, car electronics, digital devices, electronic home appliances, and video games. In addition, the international fashion industry has focused attention on Japan, with renowned name brands opening flagship stores throughout Tokyo. Japan has positioned itself as a world trend leader not only in technology, but also in subculture (animation, comics, movies, etc.) and fashion.

Although these trends continue, a recent slump in the automotive industry's domestic demand is evident, and some international companies have made comments such as, 'the matured Japanese market is unappealing as a target for business clientele'.

However, since Japan still holds a strong position as a world trend leader for a variety of products and services, understanding market structures and product marketability in this country enable international businesses to have a key to future possibilities in the Asian market. Longstanding sentiment has been that most Asian trends start in Japan: it has been said, 'If you can't sell it in Japan, then you can't sell it in Asia'.

Furthermore, in the current financial turmoil and the fear of global recession, the Japanese financial market, experiencing and learning from the bitter burst of the 1990's bubble economy, has barely been affected and remains strong. In the near future, it is believed that the marketing of commodities in the Japanese market will grow in importance and come under the world spotlight, leading to an acceleration of market research and analysis. divider



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