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.

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)CHANELFive Key Advantages.Large Sophisticated Marketj.Innovation Hub.Qualified Employees.Comfortable living.Reliable Partners

Large Sophisticated Market

International comparison of Japanese regional gross production (Nominal, FY2013)
(unit: US$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: Cabinet Office, “Report on Prefectural Accounts 2013” (FY2016)

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 compared to GDP (G7 comparison)

Rank Country Research funding
($100 million)
Percentage of research funding to GDP(%)
1 Japan 1,786 3.56
2 Germany 1,088 2.90
3 US 4,570 2.74
4 France 588 2.26
5 UK 442 1.70
6 Canada 258 1.61
7 Italy 277 1.29

Data source: ”Main Science and Technology Indicators,”OECD, among others


Number of researchers per 10,000 people(G7 comparison)

Rank Country Number of researchers (unit: 10,000) Number of researchers per 10,000 people
1 Japan 66.2 52.1
2 Canada 15.9 45.3
3 Germany 35.1 43.4
4 UK 27.4 42.3
5 US 130.8 41.3
6 France 26.9 40.7
7 Italy 12.0 19.7

Data source: ”Main Science and Technology Indicators,”OECD, among others

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


Comment from foreign company in Japan

 We were very impressed by the Japanese talent with their high level of expertise in technology development when we worked together in Japan. (North America, energy and environment technology-related company)

 The process of industry-academia cooperation has been solidified and is paving the way for joint research. (North American pharmaceuticals, medical devices)

 We have access to loyal and important customers and product analysis of a high standard here. (Europe, chemical company)

Source: METI ” Survey on Attitudes of Foreign-Affiliated Companies toward Direct Investment in Japan Report 2016”

Innovation Hub
  • Company: Caterpillar Japan Ltd.External Site Link
    Corporate Base: US
    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: US
    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 Capital and Lifesyle in Asia-Pacific

Rank 2015/2016 2017/2018
1 Seoul Melbourne
2 Newcastle Sydney
3 Adelaide Tokyo
4 Dunedin Seoul
5 Canberra Hong Kong
6 Tokyo Adelaide
7 Melbourne Singapore
8 Wellington Shanghai
9 Darwin Beijing
10 Manila Canberra

Source: fDi Intelligence “Asia-Pacific Cities of the Future” (2015/2016, 2017/2018)

Qualified Employees
  • Company: Delta Air LinesExternal Site Link
    Corporate Base: US
    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: US
    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

The ”25 Most Livable Cities Index” (2016) published by UK magazine Monocle

1 Tokyo
2 Berlin
3 Vienna
4 Copenhagen
5 Munich
6 Melbourne
7 Fukuoka
8 Sydney
9 Kyoto
10 Stockholm

Source: Monocle, UK

Comments from foreign company on Japan's excellent living environment


 Japan is stable socially and politically, and the safest country to live. (Asia investment bank/ securities firm)

 The crime rate is very low and employees can enjoy a stable life in Japan. (North America, information/communication/high-technology)

 There are many leisure spots near by and it enriches personal life. Japan is one of the most livable countries. (North America, energy and environment technology-related company)

 There is a solid financial assistance system to cover costs of health insurance and medical care, especially of families and children. (Asia, information/communication/high technology)

 You can expect medical care of significantly high quality in Japan. (Asia, investment bank/ securities firm)

 There is highly solid and well-controlled life-related infrastructure in place which can assure your quality of life. (Asia, service/retail)

 There are solid fundamental social systems, such as the health insurance system and pension system, which are of higher standards compared to other countries. (North America, pharmaceuticals/medical devices)

Source: METI ”Survey on Attitudes of Foreign-Affiliated Companies toward Direct Investment in Japan Report 2016"

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 Mortor Vehicles and Parts Electronics, Electrical Equip Telecommunications
1 Toyota Motor(Japan) Samsung Electronics(South Korea) AT&T(US)
2 Volkswagen(Germany) Hon Hai Precision Industry(Taiwan) Verizon(US)
3 Daimler(Germany) Hitachi (Japan) China Mobile Communications(China)
4 General Motors(US) Sony(Japan) Nippon Telegraph & Telephone(Japan)
5 Ford Motor(US) Panasonic(Japan) Softbank Group(Japan)
6 Honda Motor(Japan) Amer International Group(China) Deutsche Telekom(Germany)
7 SAIC Motor(China) LG Electronics(South Korea) Comcast(US)
8 Nissan Motor(Japan) Honeywell International(US) China Telecommunications(China)
9 BMW Group(Germany) Mitsubishi Electric(Japan) Vodafone Group(UK)
10 Dongfeng Mortor(China) China Electronics(China) Telefonica(Spain)

Source: Fortune Global 500 (2017)

Reliable Partners
  • Company: The Taffrail Group, LLCExternal Site Link
    Corporate Base: US
    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

Investment Facilitation Division, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau

Last updated:2017-10-17