How to conquer the Japanese market

Published on 26/07/2021

There are 126 million people living in Japan. It’s a country characterised by its strong culture, curiosity for others and purchasing power. Japan is a very interesting market for foreign companies, especially European companies.

In fact, in 2018, the European Union and Japan signed the Economic Partnership Agreement.

This agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019 and affects many products, from raw materials to luxury goods. This agreement allows to reduce taxes and to make changes in quotas.

This market has its own special features. To attract future customers, you should pay attention to these.

Would you like to join the Japanese market? In this article you will find important tips to successfully achieve your goal.

1. Japan: The land of great opportunities


As the third largest economic power in the world, Japan is known for its innovative capacity. Japan is a leader in the fields of robotics and video games. There are huge amounts of money invested in research and development.

If you are a company with an innovative product or service, it’s your time to shine. Conquer the Japanese market!

Many companies specialised in mechanical engineering, electronics and chemicals have high chances to successfully enter the Japanese market.

Consumers are very open-minded towards multinational companies. They are attracted to imported products from specialised countries, such as Swiss watches or French wine. In 2020, European companies exported 54.5 billion euros in trade goods to Japan.

The Japanese population is very old. Therefore, it would be interesting to consider this demographic group and design products and services that meet their needs.

Another opportunity for innovative companies, is the fact that Japan will host the Olympic Games in 2021

2. A different culture

A different culture

Adapting to the local culture is inevitable when entering a new market. This is especially the case for the Japanese market.

First of all, the Japanese are very demanding when it comes to product quality and service. They pay a lot of attention to details and delivery time. Whatever you want to offer should be in line with Japanese values and expectations.

Another important point is that the Japanese prefer to work with Japanese-speaking partners. They expect you to be familiar with Japanese business culture. The Japanese generally speak very few foreign languages. That’s why you need to find a way to ensure fluent communication.

Finally, you need to win their trust and show commitment to your partners and customers.

3. Social networks in Japan

Social networks in Japan

Line is the most widely used social network in Japan. A total of 67 % of the Japanese population uses this platform, this translates into 86 million users in 2020. This makes Line the most popular network in Japan.

Let's have a quick look at the history of this social network. It was founded in 2011 after the tsunami in Japan. Survivors could not send messages to their relatives because the phone networks went down. Therefore, they rushed to the telephone booths and formed long queues.

The Korean group NHN Corp developed an application, which only works via internet and Wifi. They decided to call it Line to commemorate the history of long queues in front of the phone boxes.

This social network is a great channel for advertisement. In addition, it offers the companies to create their official accounts.
Twitter is also very important in Japan, since it´s one of the first countries with Twitter markets. Many users subscribe to company accounts to keep up to date with advertising campaigns.

Instagram is also a very good channel to promote your brand. Especially through influencers and marketing campaigns.

Facebook is the fourth most used social network in Japan. It has ony a few users nowdays and it's likely that there will be less in the future.

4.  The e-commerce market in Japan

The e-commerce market in Japan

Japan is one of the 4 largest e-commerce markets and its growth rate is one of the highest in the world.

Online shopping is very popular among Japanese consumers and has been for more than 15 years.

Three e-commerce platforms account for 50 % of total turnover. Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo! The integration of these e-commerce giants enables a company to sell its products to millions of people.

5. A translation agency for your international marketing

A translation agency for your international marketing

Although the Japanese have limited foreign language skills, bilingual marketing is a good option. This way you don't have to fully master the Japanese language, but you can still stand out from the competition, since English is often used as a promotional tool anyway.

Do you want to settle or export to Japan? Trust a professional translation agency for Japanese translations of legal or marketing documents. Native Japanese translators will provide your company with accurate translations.

You can also use English-Japanese interpreting services to facilitate cooperation with business partners. Don't hesitate to ask for any other translation service related with your business' marketing strategy.

A translation agency takes care of the linguistic and graphic adaptation of Japanese texts for the target group. Also, they can help you with your localisation strategy.

Sana Tayssir's picture
Sana Tayssir

Marketing and sales assistant at AbroadLink Traductions. Sana Tayssir is currently in her second year of a Master's degree in English at the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3. She also holds a Bachelor's degree in English language, literature and civilization.

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