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CEO Voices in Japan

Japan is aiming at doubling the balance of inward foreign direct investment by 2020.
In order to achieve this goal, we are making Japan friendlier for markets and more exciting for investors.

We interviewed CEOs of global companies in Japan and to find out what they found about the attractiveness of business in Japan.

Based on these interviews, Japan has five key advantages that make it an attractive place to do business.
These are: a large sophisticated market, Japan’s role as an innovation hub, the quality of its employees, the comfortable living environment and the reliability of its partners.

Please check these opinions of these leading CEOs. We hope that the voices in these interviews will help you better understand the attractiveness of the Japanese market.

CEO Voices in Japan -Five Key Advantages- (PDF:962KB)PDF File

Delta Air Lines(Airline, U.S.A) Dow Chemical(Chemical, U.S.) AXA Life Insuranc(Insuranc, Belgian) IKEA(Retail, Sweden) Caterpillar(Machinery, U.S.A) Coca-Cola(Drink, U.S.A) De Nora(Chemical, Italy) The Taffrail Group(consulting, U.S.A) Schneider Electric(Energy management, France) CHANEL Five Key Advantages.Large Sophisticated Marketj.Innovation Hub.Qualified Employees.Comfortable living.Reliable Partners

Large Sophisticated Market

International comparison of Japanese regional gross production (Nominal, FY2011) (unit: $1 billion)

Chube region 930.4 Netherlands 836.8 / Kinki region 981.0 Korea 1,116.2 / Chugoku region 355.3 Thailand 345.7 / Kyushu region 602.5 Switzerland 660.8 / Shikoku region 175.3 New Zealand 159.5 / Kanto region 2,530 U.K. 2,428.7 / Hokkaido and Tohoku region 717.8 Turkey 774.8

Source: JETRO “Why Japan? 5 reasons to invest in Japan”

Large Sophisticated Market
  • Company: AXA Life Insurance Co., Ltd.External Site Link
    Corporate Base: France
    Interviewee: Jean-Louis Laurent Josi, President & CEO (at the time of this interview)
    *AXA Life Insurance is the Japanese arm of the AXA Group, a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management.
  • Company: IKEA Japan K.K.External Site Link
    Corporate Base: Sweden
    Interviewee: Peter List, President & CEO
    *Ikea is the world's largest home furnishings retailer with the vision "to create a better everyday life for many people."

Innovation Hub

Research funding by country and percentage of GDP(G8 comparison)

Rank Country Percentage of GDP
Research funding
($100 million)
1 Japan 3.67 1,636
2 Germany 2.88 931
3 U.S. 2.77 4,152
4 France 2.24 519
5 U.K. 1.77 396
6 Canada 1.74 243
7 Italy 1.25 248
8 Russia 1.09 350

Number of researchers per 10,000 people(G8 comparison)

Rank Country Number of researchers per 10,000 people Number of researchers
(unit: 10,000)
1 Japan 50.8 64.6
2 U.S. 46.8 141.3
3 Canada 43.7 14.9
4 U.K. 41.8 26.2
5 Germany 40.1 32.8
6 France 37 24
7 Russia 31.3 44.8
8 Italy 17.6 10.7

Source: JETRO “Why Japan? 5 reasons to invest in Japan”

Innovation Hub
  • Company: Caterpillar Japan Ltd.External Site Link
    Corporate Base: U.S.
    Interviewee: Robert Beneke, President of Caterpillar Japan
    *Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.
  • Company: Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, LimitedExternal Site Link
    Corporate Base: U.S.
    Interviewee: Tim Brett, Representative Director and President
    *The Coca-Cola Company is the leading company of non-alcoholic beverage industry in the world.

Qualified Employees

Ranking of Human Resources in Asia-Pacific

Rank 2009/2010 2011/2012
1 Tokyo Shanghai
2 Seoul Tokyo
3 Beijing Beijing
4 Hong Kong Zhengzhou
5 Shanghai Singapore
6 Taiyuan Melbourne
7 Singapore Seoul
8 Melbourne Zhongshan
9 Sydney Brisbane
10 Adelaide Shijiazhuang

Source: fDi Intelligence “Asia-Pacific Cities of the Future” (2009/2010, 2011/2012)

Comment from foreign company in Japan

 Japan has variety of seeds of R&D techniques as well as established techniques. (Asia/environment)

 Many employees with high education. (EU,U.S.,Asia/IT)

 Many talented employees with ability to speak English and Japanese. (U.S./telecommunication)

Source: Reports of foreign company interest level toward FDI in Japan (FY2013)

Qualified Employees
  • Company: Delta Air LinesExternal Site Link
    Corporate Base: U.S.
    Interviewee: Vinay Dube, Senior Vice President-Asia Pacific
    *Delta is one of the world’s largest global airlines, serving more than 170 million customers each year.
  • Company: Dow Chemical Japan LimitedExternal Site Link
    Corporate Base: U.S.
    Interviewee: Peter Jennings, President
    * Dow combines the power of science and technology to passionately improve what is essential to human progress.
    Dow's portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions.

Comfortable living

Ranking of best infrastructure in Asia-Pacific

RANK 2009/2010 2011/2012
1 Hong Kong Singapore
2 Singapore Tokyo
3 Beijing Seoul
4 Incheon Hong Kong
5 Seoul Osaka
6 Tokyo Kobe
7 Chiba Kuala Lumpur
8 Sydney Bangkok
9 Osaka Kyoto
10 Kobe Sapporo

Source: fDi Intelligence “Asia-Pacific Cities of the Future” (2009/2010, 2011/2012)

Comment from foreign company in Japan

 Crime rate lower than in other countries. (U.S./manufacture)

 Able to get good school education.(U.S./environment)

 Access to hospitals in major cities is convenient, and able to get advanced medical treatment. (U.S./pharmaceuticals)

 Everything including transportation is convenient.(Asia/electronics)

 Owing to high living standards, food and culture, there are many people who wish to stay in Japan.(U.S./chemical)

Source: Reports of foreign company interest level toward FDI in Japan (FY2013)

Comfortable living
  • Company: De NoraExternal Site Link
    Corporate Base: Italy
    Interviewee: Danilo Parini, Regional Chief Officer Asia
    *De Nora is an innovative electrochemical technology company using chemical products.
  • Company: CHANELExternal Site Link
    Interviewee: Richard Collasse, President
    *CHANEL is the global luxury brand creating high quality products in fashion, watch and fine Jewelry, fragrance and beauty.

Reliable Partners

Ranking of company size in Fortune 500

Rank Automotive Electric Machinery Telecommunication
1 Volkswagen(Germany) Samsung Electronics(South Korea) AT&T(U.S.)
2 Toyota Motor(Japan) Hon Hai Precision Industry(China) Verizon Communications(U.S.)
3 Daimler(Germany) Siemens(Germany) NTT(Japan)
4 General Motors(U.S.) Hitachi (Japan) China Mobile Communications(China)
5 EXOR Group(Italy) Sony(Japan) Deutsche Telekom(Germany)
6 Ford Motor(U.S.) Panasonic(Japan) Telefonica(Spain)
7 Honda Motor(Japan) Toshiba(Japan) Softbank(Japan)
8 Nissan Motor(Japan) LG Electronics(South Korea) Vodafone Group(U.K.)
9 BMW Group(Germany) Mitsubishi Electric(Japan) Comcast(U.S.)
10 SAIC Motor(China) Honeywell International(U.S.) China Telecommunications(China)

Source: Fortune Global 500 (2014)

Reliable Partners
  • Company: The Taffrail Group, LLCExternal Site Link
    Corporate Base: U.S.
    Interviewee: Robert Verdier, President Japan
    *The Taffrail Group is the Japanese branch of a consulting company founded and headquartered in Atlanta, U.S.
  • Company: Schneider Electric Japan, Inc.External Site Link
    Corporate Base: France
    Interviewee: Philippe Bouchet, Vice President, Global Operations Strategy and Development
    *Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries.

Division in Charge

Trade and Investment Facilitation Division, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau

Last updated:2015-05-29
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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