Welcome to Japan from Sue Kinoshita

A personal message from Sue Kinoshita, Marketing Director, UKTI Japan

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).

I manage a team of market specialists in Tokyo and Osaka, each with significant experience working for UK companies in the Japanese market – and many have worked for private companies within the industries concerned.

My latest blog : Old dogs or new trick…

“In your old age would you prefer a dog or a robot for company? That was the subject of a heated discussion at a dinner we hosted last week for Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, featuring a range of Japanese experts on the impact of an aging society.”……Read more

Other recent blogs

Ageing infrastructure

Don’t forget the hand cream!

And the winner is…

The Scientist as National Hero

Elsewhere on the Japan section of the site, you can find a summary of the latest opportunities in the Japanese market for UK companies 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.

For more information about opportunities in the Japanese market please contact my teams at: exporttojapan@fco.gov.uk or call on +81 (0)3 5211 1100

Countries: Japan
Topics: Getting Started
Export Action Plan