This site is dedicated to helping non-Japanese business people learn about Japan - its business environment, markets, and the underlying cultural factors that make Japan different. Educating yourself is the best path toward ensuring success.
Do you open an office, or find a partner? Do you know what is appealing about your product, or yourself? What is the market potential for what you offer? What are the unique challenges, and will you have to change anything to suit market taste or regulations? How do you manage local staff across time zones and very different working styles? What is the right sales process, and how do you set expectations?
Phil Jin Chang is a 30-year veteran of the high-tech industry, with 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley, five years in the UK and nine years in Japan. He has worked in the fields of computer graphics, messaging, cloud-based applications, ecommerce, mobile web and apps, and media technology. In the late 90’s he started a company that developed industry-leading energy trading analytics despite having no prior background in
the energy industry; in addition, the flagship product was one of the first SaaS applications in the world. Since coming to Japan in 2006 with a British company to launch an embedded mobile web browser on a Docomo phone, he has worked with and sold to a wide range of traditional Japanese companies, including NTT, NEC and NHK, and bootstrapped the Japanese market presence of several American companies.
Jun Arai is a seasoned executive who had a long career at Itochu Techno-Solutions, the largest systems integrator in Japan. He was instrumental in establishing several new business areas there based on advanced products from the US, including semiconductors, multimedia, disaster recovery, storage, networking, messaging, security, and others. As a result, he understands how
foreign products fit into the partner/customer ecosystem in Japan and has a keen awareness of the factors that drive acceptance and growth. In addition, his versatility and numerous relationships are great assets to companies seeking to expand in Japan.
A graduate of Tokyo University of Science, Tomio Okachi started his career as an engineer at Intel Japan and Western Digital Japan, and for the past 25 years has worked with a wide range of clients from Silicon Valley developing their Japanese business in areas as diverse as semiconductors, mobile and gaming hardware, energy transmission, and audio enhancement for laptops. Understanding the needs of foreign companies
doing business in Japan, he can find, cultivate, and establish strategic customers and partners. He has also helped some of his clients establish permanent operations after growing their business, and has facilitated strategic investments from and joint development with Japanese companies.
Antony Ford first came to Japan in the 1980’s as part of Oxford Instruments. Over the following three decades, he directed a joint venture with Furukawa Electric, established Oxford Instruments Japan, managed distributor relationships and direct sales, and grew a diversified operation. He is currently a Fellow of Oxford Instruments. Oxford Instruments grew to worldwide fame in the area of superconducting magnet technology that was
commercially deployed in MRI scanners. Antony Ford also developed a Nanoscience business division for Oxford Instruments Japan. His current client base spans a wide range of companies in fields as diverse as nano materials, medical devices, pharmaceutical R&D, and biotech.