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A Look at Japan’s Manufacturing Industries

Japan is a manufacturing powerhouse and the world’s third largest economy. In fact, Japan’s manufacturing industries account for around 24% of the country’s overall GDP(1), a huge percentage (manufacturing accounts for only around 12% of the USA’s economic output).

Japan is known for inventions such as karaoke, PlayStation, and the selfie stick, but their technological innovation is more than just entertainment. Big Japanese inventions like blue LED light, android robotics, and the super-fast bullet train have changed the world. And Japan’s development in areas like consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals and automotives have made it a manufacturing world leader. This makes it a very attractive market, and more and more companies are expanding their business to Japan.

So what exactly are Japan’s manufacturing industries producing that the world can’t get enough of? Have a look and see why the Japanese market is a great next step for your company to expand to.

1 brookings.edu, “Global manufacturing scorecard how the us compares to 18 other nations”


japan industry
Consumer electronics
Many of the world’s best-known consumer electronics companies are based in Japan. Have you ever owned a Canon printer? What about a Casio calculator, a digital Nikon camera, or a Panasonic TV? Did you ever have a SEGA, Nintendo, or Sony PlayStation? How about a Seiko watch or a Yamaha keyboard? All of these products and more are made by Japanese consumer electronics brands.

In 2018, Japan produced electronics products to the value of 11.7 trillion Japanese yen(2) and today, the electronics industry remains one of the largest in the world.

Did you know? The market for electronic goods in Japan was stimulated by an unlikely source - schoolchildren’s allowances! Around 1997, Japanese children were receiving so much allowance they were able to save an average of 110,000 Japanese Yen ($900 USD). Money they could use to buy goods like Tamagotchis.

2 statista.com, “Total pruduction value of the Japanese electronics industry from 2020 to 2018”


medical industry

Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals
Like the US, Japan has an aging population. Partly due to the higher demand from its oldest population, Japan developed the second-largest pharmaceutical market in the world. This market continues to grow and, in response, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is giving special attention to the pharmaceutical manufacturing industries(3). Japan is at the forefront of global medical innovation and innovative new drugs are approved for use faster here than in Europe and the US.

Did you know? Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates, due in no small part to its comprehensive healthcare system that covers medical, dental and prescription drug needs. Average life expectancy in Japan is 85.77 years (in the US it is 79.38 years).

3 hbr.org, “Why the pharmaceutical Industry is Booming in Japan”


Automotive industry
Of course, the automotive manufacturing industries is where Japan truly shines.

● Japan is the third biggest producer of automobiles in the world and owns a massive portion of the global market share.
● Japanese car brands include Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Toyota, and many more recognized around the world.
● Today, approximately 5.5 million Japanese people are employed in its automotive manufacturing industries with many more working for Japanese brands overseas.
● Auto parts manufacturing in Japan employs more than 600,000 people.
● There are 78 car and auto-parts factories in Japan, providing jobs across 22 prefectures.

car industry japan
Japan’s manufacturing industries are known for research excellence, technological advancement, and high production quality. The automotive industry is no different. Today’s vehicles are incredibly complex with many made up of more than 20,000 parts. Japan not only excels in making vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Type-R, and Subaru Impreza, but produces huge numbers of the world’s parts.

Did you know? The Toyota Motor Corporation became the largest automobile manufacturer in the world in 2008. The manufacturing giant has its own city, Toyota City, located east of Nagoya, Japan. Interestingly, the Toyota Camry has been named the top-selling car in America 12 times over the last 13 years.

Businesses working in manufacturing industries will find much to inspire and motivate their workforce in Japan. As the country has a lot to offer for many industries and is always pushing the envelope on development, having business going in Japan promises to be very lucrative and many companies preceded in doing so. Host an event or meeting with JCD and let us show you how Japan created the successful manufacturing industries that power our nation. We can help your company to promote itself to new clients with supporting your launch and promotional events, client events, and more! Don’t hesitate with reaching out to us for any inquiries or requests!



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