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We Can Connect You With The Right Importers, Agents & Distributors In Japan We’ve helped over 400 foreign companies sell everything from specialized B2B, medical, industrial, technical, and scientific products… to all types of consumer goods If your products are right for the Japanese market, we can use our decades of experience… deep network of contacts… and in-depth understanding of the Japanese distribution system to connect you with sales partners in Japan who: ✅ Speak English ✅ Know your industry …

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Doing Business In Japan: A Practical Guide To Selling In Japan Using Distributors, Importers & Agents

There’s a lot of confusing information out there about doing business in Japan. 🚫 Information from college professors and government bureaucrats who have no real-world experience 🚫 Information that’s outdated and often just plain wrong 🚫 Information that only works if you’re a large multinational corporation You won’t find any of that here. Instead, you’ll discover what actually works in Japan, based on 40 years of doing business in Japan and helping more than 400 companies sell their products in …

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Distribution Channels in Japan: Selling Directly To Retailers & B2B Customers In Japan

“We do great business with Best Buy in the U.S., so I’m sure retailers in Japan like Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera, K’s Denki, and Joshin would love to do business with us and have our products on their shelves.” In our experience, this is only partially true — these large Japanese retailers might be very interested in selling your products, but they won’t want to do business with you unless you have an office in Japan. Distribution channels in Japan …

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Japanese Distributors: The Wrong Ones & The Right Ones To Approach

“Can you find the distributors that our main Japanese competitor uses in Japan and reach out to these companies for us? Our products are much better than theirs, so I’m sure these distributors will want to talk with us.” Approaching Japanese distributors that represent your Japanese competitors We’re often asked by clients to contact the distributors in Japan that their Japanese competitors use. We’re always happy to oblige, but we’ve found that this approach rarely works. This is because one …

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Understanding Distribution In Japan: The Kouza System

The Japanese “kouza” (口座 or account) system refers to a traditional method of doing business in Japan, particularly in the retail sector, where retailers only purchase from suppliers who have been screened and approved in advance. In other words, suppliers such as manufacturers and distributors who have an existing “account” with the retailer. Key features of the kouza system include: 1. Exclusive Territories: Retailers are often granted exclusive territories by their suppliers. This means that a particular retailer is the …

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Doing Business In Japan: Lessons From The Pandemic

When the pandemic begin and Japan began to restrict entry to the country for non-Japanese citizens, I thought our business was dead in the water for the foreseeable future. This is because the “traditional” way to find distributors in Japan has always been to visit the country to meet potential partners. How were our clients going to do this if they couldn’t even get into Japan? I’m happy to say that I was completely wrong… In fact, we’ve been busier …

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Japanese Distributors, Importers, and Agents

There are thousands of Japanese companies importing and distributing non-Japanese products. We’ve worked with clients in dozens of different industries and find that there are typically 20 to 45 companies or more actively importing and distributing foreign products in any given product category. Here are a few examples: “A” is an importer of fashion apparel. The company was founded in 1950 and currently has 190 employees. They are headquartered in Kobe with a sales office in Tokyo to maintain close …

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Finding Japanese Distributors Using Government Services

Many clients come to us after unsuccessfully trying to find Japanese sales partners using the matchmaking services provided by government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Gold Key Service, UK Department for Business and Trade, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Austrade, German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (AHK Japan), Business France, and Switzerland Global Enterprise. Why are these government agencies rarely successful in helping foreign companies connect with the right Japanese distributors or sales agents? I’ve talked …

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Do You Need “Connections” To Find The Right Japanese Distributor?

I’m often asked by new clients if we have experience in their industry. The underlying belief here seems to be that you need “connections” to do business with Japanese companies or need to “know someone” in order for distributors in Japan to take you seriously. This is simply not true. We have cold-called thousands of Japanese distributors and I can say with great confidence that the vast majority of Japanese distributors are extremely open to hearing about new business opportunities… …

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