Doing Business In Japan

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Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)


MidCity Place 71, High Holborn, London
WC1V6AL, United Kingdom

Tel       +44-(0)20-7421-8300
Fax      +44-(0)20-7421-0009


Ark Mori Building, 6F 12-32, Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6006 Japan

Tel       +81-(0)3-3582-5511

About us

The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) is an organisation funded by the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, JETRO's core focus in the 21st century has shifted toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

JETRO has a worldwide network of more than 70 overseas offices in over 50 countries across the world. JETRO London was established in 1959, and support UK companies looking to invest in Japan.


JETRO is always ready to help foreign companies planning to start a business in Japan

The majority of JETRO's services, which are free of charge, are aimed at helping foreign companies to establish a branch or subsidiary in Japan, such as providing market information, legal advice and consultation, and temporary office space.

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JETRO's IBSC is a one-stop centre for establishing a business base and starting your business in Japan.

JETRO Investment Business Support Centres (IBSCs) are located in six major cities of Japan ― Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe and Fukuoka. At each IBSC, experienced IBSC staff and advisors provide information by using a broad network across government and private sectors, and offer consultation according to your company's needs. IBSC also offer temporary office space for foreign firms that have not yet established a business base in Japan.



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Free individual consultation for your company

IBSC staff and advisors can provide information such as industrial structures and market shares, Japanese business practices in regard to procurement, product sales, and industrial systems, as well as advice based on the needs of your company.

・Market and industry information

・Information on incentives from national and local governments

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・Information of relevant legal systems

・Establishing an office

・Cost estimates

・Networking with potential business partners

・Taxation, labour and legal issues

・Finding human resources

・Obtaining residence status and visas

・Finding an office location


Temporary office space offered free of charge

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IBSC temporary offices are located near major government offices and have convenient access to important business centres across Japan. Such proximity enables you to complete applications, business negotiations and make other preparations to smoothly establish your business.

  • Tenancy eligibility: Foreign companies considering to start business in Japan

  • Tenancy period: Up to 50 business days in principle (The period can be extended as required.)

  • Tenancy fee: Free (Deposit and communication fees are required.)

  • Equipment: Desks, chairs, telephones, fax machines and broadband connections

  • Common facilities: Conference rooms, multipurpose hall, business library


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Gather a wide range of information needed for your business

-JETRO Business Library-

The JETRO Business Library is an academic library developed for international business. Our libraries in Tokyo and Osaka hold collections of over 230,000 books and 100,000 books, respectively. Our sources include an excellent selection of English-language documents and reference materials on Japan, Asia and other countries, and visitors have free access to all items in the library.


Why Japan?

Japan offers foreign companies three main windows of opportunity:

  • Innovation Hub

    • Japan boasts a large number of leading global companies and SMEs with proprietary technologies that support global firms.

    • Japanese firms are renowned for the number of international patent applications (PCT applications). Japan comes top for the number of environment-related patent application publications.

    • Japan can make valuable contributions to foreign businesses with their many unique strengths, such as their R & D capabilities and ability to develop sophisticated technology.

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  • Business Platform

    • Japan plays an important role as a "bridge nation" connecting Asia to the rest of the world, contributing to Asia's growth

    • Japan promises an environment for safe and secure living conditions, as well as a stable and dependable environment for businesses.

    • Japan is equipped with extremely advanced infrastructure i.e. ICT. The network of basic infrastructure such as gas, water and electricity are also highly efficient.


  • Trendsetter

    • Japan is one of the world's largest economies. The economic size of each region within Japan can be comparable to that of an entire country's economy in various parts of the world.

    • Japan offers a market for 'test marketing', before firms progress to enter other Asian markets. It is also a country that holds "soft power", setting trends in areas such as fashion, food products and electrical appliances.

    • Has large growth potential for various sectors, such as health and tourism.


Success Stories

Here's a brief look at some of the companies that have received support from JETRO IBSC to expand their business operations to Japan.

Scottish and Southern Energy plc (United Kingdom)

In January 2011, U.K. based Scottish Energy plc established a representative office in Tokyo. Scottish and Southern Energy, which supplies electricity and gas to the whole of the U.K., is the second-largest general energy company in the country. The utility also has renewable energy developments in Portugal, Holland, Ireland and Sweden.

In July 2010, Scottish and Southern Energy and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. entered into an agreement to develop low-carbon technologies. The two companies will collaborate across a broad range of projects including offshore wind farms to develop new and innovative technologies for realising a low-carbon society (smart community). Valuing Japan's research and development skills, Scottish and Southern Energy relocated its representative office from Beijing, China to Tokyo. The Tokyo office will conduct market research and collect information on Japanese companies with innovative technologies that are applied to the UK energy market.

To set-up its Japan arm, JETRO's IBSC in Tokyo provided a range of support services including consultation with experts on company registration, visas and taxes, and also introduced serviced offices.


Colortrac Ltd (United Kingdom)

In October 2010, British company Colortrac Ltd. established a Japanese branch office, Colortrac Japan, in Yokohama City. Colortrac manufactures and sells large format scanners and peripheral software. The company has manufacturing bases in the UK and China and sells its products through agents in more than 60 countries.

Colortrac's flagship colour scanners range in size from 24" (approx 61cm) to 56" (approx.142cm). Since the company's products can deal with large-sized documents, they are used by design offices and printing firms to save drawings, blueprints, maps etc. The company has so far conducted its business in Japan through agents. They recognized Japan as a key location for them to set up their branch office, in order to expand in the region.

To set-up its Japan operation, JETRO's IBSC in Yokohama provided comprehensive support and consultation including provision of free temporary office space, introduction to an administrative scrivener and local government officials, assistance in application for local government subsidies, and help with press releases.

Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama City and JETRO worked together to attract Colortrac to Yokohama. The company is the first British enterprise to make use of the prefecture's "Invest Kanagawa" one-stop service.


Dou Yee International Pte Ltd (Singapore)

Singaporean investment holding company Dou Yee International Pte Ltd decided in June 2011 to set up a base in Shobara City, Hiroshima for the production and research & development of film liquid crystal displays. The initial investment is expected to be around one billion yen, including a purchase of a plant.

On April 28, 2011, the company (particularly its Research and Development Department) was selected as a beneficiary of the FY2010 "Subsidy Program for Projects Promoting Asian Site Location in Japan." This program, which encourages foreign firms to establish bases in Japan, is offered by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry with JETRO serving as the program secretariat.

JETRO worked closely with local governments nationwide to help Dou Yee International set up this base in Japan. For example, information was provided on candidate sites available for purchase, and arrangements were made for inspections and discussions with the relevant parties. JETRO plans to continue providing support so that Dou Yee International can get production and R&D activities at its new base up and running.


Nansei Sekiyu K.K. ― Petrobras (Brazil)

Brazilian state-owned oil giant with operations in 27 countries, Petroleo Brasileiro S/A (Petrobras) acquired a controlling stake in Nansei Sekiyu K.K., which has a petroleum refinery in Okinawa, from Tonen General Sekiyu K.K. for 5.5 billion yen. Taking advantage of Okinawa's strategic location, Petrobras is seeking to increase sales in Japan (particularly of biofuels) as well as other Asian markets, and is studying the possibility of investing approximately 100 billion yen to boost capacity at Nansei's oil refineries in Okinawa. JETRO IBSC, together with the Okinawa prefectural government, helped the company's purchase from an early stage (since 2007), providing free consultations with expert advisors on matters such as visas and licenses for oil refineries and procedures for corporate establishment.


Item Japan K.K. (Germany)

Item Industrietechnik GmbH is a leading German maker of aluminium structural kit systems that also designs and builds a range of tailor-made factory facilities and shells for its customers, including the world-renowned German photovoltaic maker, Q-cells AG. Item established its Japan plant and relocated its Japan head office to Osaka, the heart of the Kansai region, where major photovoltaic producers, including Sharp, KYOCERA and SANYO, are based. JETRO IBSC provided the firm with free temporary office space, helped with the application for subsidies offered by the Osaka prefectural government, as well as assistance with the cooperation of the Osaka Business & Investment Centre (O-BIC).


Abercrombie & Fitch (United States)

Casual US clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch opened its first Asia flagship store in Tokyo's fashionable Ginza shopping district in December 2009. With over 1,000 stores in North America, the firm sells its products only through its stores and on-line business, opting not to operate store-within-stores. Abercrombie is actively seeking to develop new markets. Prior to the Ginza opening, the store hired over 1,000 employees including part-time associates. JETRO IBSC provided free temporary office space and support for personnel recruitment and also supplied information on the Japanese market and regulations pertaining to retailers.