With nearly 50% of medical devices being imported, Japan is open to innovative and high quality products and technologies.
Healthcare and Medical Devices in Japan
Japan is the world?s second largest market for both healthcare and medical devices. With nearly
50% of medical devices being imported, Japan is open to innovative and high quality products
Japan has the second largest healthcare market in the world, after the US. National medical
expenditure in FY2009 was ¥36.6 trillion (approx £305 billion (£1 = ¥120)), up 3.9% from the
previous year. This was a record high in terms of level and growth rate, driven by Japan?s ageing
population and more sophisticated medical care.
Japan is also the second largest market in the world for medical devices. It was worth ¥2.2
trillion (approx £18.3 billion) in 2009 when the market for imports of medical devices alone was
approximately £8 billion.
Medical services are provided in a free access system, in which citizens can choose any medical
institution throughout Japan. Therefore, even patients with a mild illness tend to visit a large
hospital equipped with various high tech instruments/devices. This is in marked contrast to the
UK, where the first point of call is likely to be the GP.
Japan has one of the world?s fastest growing elderly populations. As of September 2010,
approximately 23.1% of Japan?s 127 million people are over 65 and this figure is anticipated to
increase to 30.5% by 2025 and to 40.5% by 2055.
Japan has relatively strong manufacturing capabilities for diagnostic equipment, including CT,
MRI and Electrocardiography, supplied by some globally known manufacturers including
Toshiba Medical Systems, Olympus Medical Systems and Hitachi Medico. In 2009, imports of
medical devices made up nearly half the market (49.4%). Of all foreign suppliers, the US
retained more than half of that share with 53.3%.
The UK is increasing its share steadily from 1.3% in 2004 to 2.3% in 2009 and was positioned as
Japan?s eighth largest foreign supplier of medical devices in 2009. The top three categories for
imports were as follows: i) Artificial internal organ apparatus and assistive devices (32.6%); ii)
General surgical/orthopaedic supplies and related products (23%); and iii) Ophthalmic devices
For the healthcare market, unique, sophisticated, fashionable and high-technology products are
sought to assist elderly people, including those who are healthy, and those with disabilities.
For the medical devices market, opportunities exist for advanced and innovative products
especially in the following areas:
? Diagnostics systems and equipment
? Novel medical treatments (e.g. minimally- or non-invasive surgery)
? Preventative healthcare
Main therapeutic areas are oncology, cardiology, CNS, orthopaedics and age related diseases.
? Diagnostics products and technologies for stratified medicine
? Surgical navigation (e.g. surgical robotics)
? Regenerative medicine
Latest export opportunities ? Healthcare & Medical
Latest export opportunities ? Japan
Getting into the market
Finding good and loyal, local business partners is the key for both the healthcare and medical
devices markets, rather than direct market entry. Medical devices are regulated under the
Pharmaceutical Affairs Law in Japan and local companies will be able to assist with regulatory
issues and guide you through the best possible route into the market.
Japanese companies attach great importance in developing trust and mutual confidence that will
lead to a strong and enduring relationship.
More about doing business in Japan
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
? Kaori Arai, British Embassy Tokyo. Tel: +81 (0)3 5211 1150 or email:
? Hitomi Nakai, Consulate General Osaka.
Tel: +81 (0)6 6120 5656 or email: Hitomi.Nakai@fco.gov.uk
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Medical device and technologies:
Dates: 18?19 April 2012
Website address: http://medtecjapan.com
International Modern Hospital Show
Dates:18?20 July 2012
Website address: www.noma.or.jp/hs/index-e.html
Dates:14?16 November 2012
Website address: http://www.jma.or.jp/hospex/en/top-e/index-e.htm
Care and assistive products:
Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition
Dates: 26?28 September 2012
Website address: www.hcrjapan.org/english/
Latest events ? Healthcare & Medical
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters