From robot pets to high-speed bullet trains, Japan lives a culture of innovation. Land of major automobile manufacturers and tech companies, the country has been encouraging various players, including startups, to come up with disruptive ideas and to grow internationally.

Country Overview

Japan has a population of more than 126 million people and a GPD per Capita of $42,700, which is growing at a rate of 1.5%. The country is in the 174th position of worldwide GDP growth. Inflation and unemployment are low at 0.4% and 2.9%, respectively.

The leading sectors for the country’s economy are automotive, shipbuilding, biotech, nanotech, renewable energies, semi-conductors, optical instruments and robotics.

It is estimated that 92% of the Japanese population is an internet user, but only 39% own smartphones. The adoption of social networks is around 50%.


Doing Business

The World Bank ranks Japan 34 over 190 countries in Easy of Doing Business. As shown in the infographic, Japan wins points for the easiness of resolving insolvency, getting electricity and trading across borders. However, obtaining credit, enforcing contracts (which will take at least a year) and protecting minority investors are setbacks.


Business Etiquette

Doing business in Japan can be very different than in any other countries. Thanks to our local partner, check out the Do’s and Don’ts of doing business in Japan.


  • Always be on time
  • Dress formal
  • Clarify everything and be as specific as possible
  • Always fulfill your commitments
  • Listen more than talk
  • Value and respect other opinions


  • Don’t consider Japan as fortress: they are constantly looking for high-performance, eco-friendly and safety increasing solutions
  • Don’t underestimate the level of investment (human resources, budget) that would be required to achieve the goals
  • Don’t take any immediate decision, always request additional time to consider an offer
  • Don’t deny your responsibility when problems arise

Japan’s path to development and innovation doesn’t seem to give signs of halt and continues to attract many foreign investments. Cetana, a partner of Beeleev, helps companies to develop internationally from Japan. Jean-Michel Mollier, founder of Cetana, gave us a interesting overview on the matter:

“The negotiations on the Japan – EU Trade agreement, that started in 2013, were finalized on December 2017, paving the way to a new potential for EU firms that already export over €58bn in goods and €28bn in services to Japan every year. Agri-food products, electrical machinery, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, transport equipment, textiles, and forestry products are among those sectors that will be given further promotions. Moreover, the forthcoming Olympic games have already demonstrated the benefits in the long run of such a big event, in a country well known to be “innovate-alcoholic”.


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