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Top Considerations for a Successful 2024 Market Entry in Japan

Top Considerations for a Successful 2024 Market Entry in Japan

Are you eyeing the lucrative Japanese market? You’re in good company. 

Many notable companies have successfully entered Japan, but others faced challenges and eventually withdrew. 

To ensure your venture into Japan is a success, there are several factors to consider. In this blog, we’ll explore the key lessons and insights that can make your entry into the Japanese market smoother and more profitable.

Market Research and Competitor Analysis 

Japanese consumers have distinct behaviors and preferences compared to those in other countries, even within Asia. This is why conducting thorough market research and competitor analysis is crucial for success when entering the Japanese market.

Here are some essential insights to keep in mind when doing research:

1. Prioritize Exceptional Customer Service

Japanese consumers are known for their high expectations when it comes to customer service. Japan embraces the philosophy of Omotenashi, which significantly influences both daily life and the business world.

Ensure that your company provides the same level of service or “Omotenashi” as your Japanese competitors and offers support in Japanese. Exceptional customer service can set you apart in the Japanese market.

2. Information is Key

Japanese consumers are diligent researchers. They thoroughly investigate products and services before making a purchase. 

To attract Japanese customers, provide an abundance of information on your website and in your marketing materials. Transparency and detailed information are highly valued.

3. Emphasize Quality over Price

In Japan, quality often takes precedence over pricing. 
Japanese consumers are willing to pay a premium for products and services that meet their high standards. 

When it comes to customer care and product packaging, prioritize quality to resonate with Japanese consumers.

Localization and Cultural Differences 

Understanding and respecting Japanese culture and business practices are crucial for success in the Japanese market. 

Here are some things you need to know:

1. Patience is a Virtue

Japanese businesspeople don’t always make quick decisions. Business meetings may take longer than expected, and it’s important to exercise patience. Building relationships and trust can be a gradual process.

2. Cultural and User Differences Matter

One common misconception is underestimating the cultural, business, and user differences between Japan and other countries. Japan may appear high-tech, but many companies still follow traditional, non-digital practices.

3. Master the Art of Localization

Localization is not just a process; it’s an art. It involves adapting your product or service to cater to the nuances of the Japanese market. Understanding local culture, values, and expectations is essential. 

Localization isn’t about altering your brand; instead, it’s about presenting it in an authentic and relatable way. 

For example, Starbucks Japan‘s customization of menus and adaptation of store designs to align with Japan’s distinctive culture are crucial elements of its localization strategy.

Import/Export Considerations 

If you’re a foreign seller targeting the Japanese market, you can’t forget about navigating the intricacies of import and export regulations. 

Japan Customs has recently tightened its regulations and introduced new rules in response to evolving challenges in the import landscape. Click here to read how this might affect your business. 

To ensure full compliance with Japanese regulations, it’s crucial to engage the services of an experienced Importer of Record (IOR) and Attorney of Customs Procedure (ACP). 

Partnering with a reputable IOR and ACP is essential for foreign businesses looking to confidently navigate the complexities of the Japanese market. This step can help streamline the import process and ensure your operations adhere to all necessary regulations, contributing to your success in Japan.


To excel in the Japanese market, considering the following is essential: understanding consumer preferences, emphasizing quality, and respecting cultural nuances. 

Import challenges are evolving, demanding the engagement of an IOR and ACP for compliance. With IOR and ACP support and alignment with Japanese values, you can confidently navigate this market, capitalizing on its unique opportunities.

Planning to Expand into the Japanese Market in 2024? 

If your brand is considering entry into the Japanese market, COVUE can facilitate your brand’s growth in Japan. We provide a range of services, including localization, marketing, and import compliance solutions.

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