This page brings you my personal insights into trends in Japan and doing business in the Japanese market – and the opportunities which exist here for UK companies. I write a regular blog on everything from musings from a food-obsessed nation to more sobering thoughts about skills gaps in HR and the challenges of Japan’s ageing population (common thread: they all hold opportunities for UK companies).
My latest blog : The emperor’s new long johns …
Other recent blogs
Elsewhere on the Japan section of the site, you can find a and a collection of long and short case studies from successful UK companies success in Japan is here.
About Me, and the Japanese market
I first came to Japan in 1985 and fell in love with the place immediately. How can you not like a country where taxi drivers wear white gloves and carry feather dusters in the glove compartment to make sure that the cab is always spotless?
Back then, Japan was still a pretty closed market, rife with tariffs and quotas. My first job in the British Embassy was to try to resolve some of these trade barriers for British companies – like the manufacturer of chocolate wafers, who wanted to prove that his products were biscuits, not chocolate, because the tariff was lower on biscuits.
Fast forward 27 years and things couldn’t be more different. Tariffs are almost non-existent and thousands of British companies of all sizes are exporting happily to Japan. For many of them Japan is their most profitable market. There are still some cultural differences – that biscuit manufacturer is now well-established here but repackages his products, because small homes mean less storage space and therefore a preference for smaller-sized packets. But the willingness of Japanese consumers to pay for quality makes it worthwhile – and the same applies to business and industrial customers, who are always on the lookout for that product, technology or service that will give them a competitive edge.