About Japan Market

Japan is one of the most important trade and investment partners for Thailand.

Japan is the third largest economy in the world

Japan’s consumer economy is large, broad-based, and sophisticated.  Per capita income of $43,118 underpins its strength as a consumer market.

Get a feeling for the size of Japan’s markets

  • world’s third largest GDP, Japan represents about 10% of the world’s economy
  • 25% of the world’s high-tech products are made in Japan, 30% of all cars are made by Japanese brands
  • Japan has many very strong local companies. As an example, eBay lost in Japan against local competition and withdrew from Japan. Japanese companies also will not usually welcome a new competitor, but develop strategies to compete hard against new entrants.
  • Many markets are busy and crowded. Therefore, tourists are asked not to bring large luggage into markets, be considerate of people around them, and observe local rules, such as possible rules against eating while walking.
  • Japan’s agricultural sector suffers from a combination of low productivity, high and distortionary levels of agricultural support (which places a burden on Japanese consumers and taxpayers) and a shortage of land suited to farming.
  • The Japanese liquor market is one of the largest in the world with estimated annual sales of 4 trillion yen and growing consumption in several categories. Despite such figures, in terms of value, foreign liquor imports in 2016, at 266.4 billion yen (according to Japan Customs), accounted for a mere 6% of the total Japanese liquor market, including beer and beer-like products.
  • apan’s status as a cultural superpower is perhaps best exemplified by the global popularity of Japanese cuisine. In addition to its international popularity, Japanese food also enjoys a reputation for promoting health and longevity.
  • The Japanese population is a traditional consumer of seafood, but meat consumption has increased gradually over recent years, especially among the younger generations. in 2016 Japan was ranked the world’s second-largest meat importer, after China, and was ranked first as of November 2017. Despite Japan’s rapidly aging and declining population, the Japanese meat production industry is expected to experience growing sales due to the ongoing Westernization of the typical Japanese diet. In particular, it is expected that younger generations of Japanese people continue regarding meat as a staple of their increasingly modern and less traditional diet.
  • The Japanese processed food market has traditionally been regarded as difficult to enter. However a the growing popularity of convenient and economical ready-to-eat meals which has opened up the market to foreign investors is being brought about by a combination of factors: The high-powered and fast-paced lifestyle of the stereotypical Japanese worker, the growing number of “single-person” households as well as the increasing popularity of convenience stores in Japan have all helped to fuel growth in Japan’s processed food market as an alternative to traditional home-cooked meals.
  • By confirming its previous trends, the Japanese soft drinks market appears to be in good health: Expansion is continuing as well as ongoing competitivity and market opportunities. The dynamicity of this sector is also due to the growth of per capita consumption and the release of new soft drinks that better respond to the necessities of the Japanese consumers.
  • Production of organic crops in Japan is difficult, due to the scarcity of arable land, combined with the Japanese hot and wet climate conditions. However, a wide range of agricultural products are produced organically, including rice, green tea, green vegetables, sweet potato, taro, pumpkin, potatoes, citrus and many other fruits. Discussions with different organic certifying agencies suggest that there are around 3 500 organic producers in Japan, farming a total area of less than 1 000 ha. Production trends for organic fruit and vegetables appear to be moving towards value added product lines, such as prepackaged salad mixes. The group certifying process provided for under the new JAS regulations enables group managers of several holdings to pool product and target specific markets.

    About Japanese food distribution
    Japan has one of world’s most developed food supply chains.

    Japan has one of world’s most developed food supply chains. Imported foods and beverages often pass through many hands before reaching consumers. The first tier of the distribution system are importers, including general trading houses and specialty importers. The next tier, wholesalers, includes large wholesalers who import a broad array of product and are often equipped to handle distribution, and smaller wholesalers who depend on the final tier, distributors, to deliver product.
    Depending on the scale and volume of operations, retailers, food service providers, and food processors may utilize one or all tiers of the distribution system.

    Number of stores by business type

    The largest number of stores is 830,969 specialty stores (59.2% of total retail sales).

  • Super Market in Japan


    Convenience store in Japan