Japan's population is aging more rapidly than that of any other major developed nation. By the year 2035, the percentage of persons in Japan over the age of 65 will have increased from the current level of 22 percent to 33 percent. As of June 2010, 4.9 million Japanese people were certified as requiring long-term care. In addition, there are approximately 3.7 million people with physical disabilities in Japan. The Japanese home healthcare products market, excluding home medical equipment, amounted to USD11.5 billion (JPY1.2 trillion) in 2008. The largest product segments in the home healthcare market are: 1) adult diapers, 2) convalescent beds, 3) hearing aids, 4) wheelchairs and 5) handrails. The strength of U.S. home healthcare products lies in their cutting-edge technologies which assist with daily living requirements of people who need support as well as physical rehabilitation. Japanese home healthcare product importers are seeking U.S. products that are innovative and incorporate better technology than comparable European and Asian products.
In Japan, the home healthcare sector is divided into two sub-sectors: welfare/rehabilitation equipment and home medical equipment.
The types of products in each category are listed below:
Welfare and rehabilitation equipment: orthotics, mobility and seating equipment, convalescent bed-related items, lifting equipment, communications equipment, daily living aids, car-related aids and home/construction-related equipment.
Home medical equipment: home oxygen therapy, home infusion therapy, home mechanical ventilation, and sleep apnea syndrome prevention, etc.
Marketing, distribution channels and regulations for home medical equipment are considerably different from those for welfare and rehabilitation equipment. This report focuses primarily on products that fall into the welfare and rehabilitation equipment category.