ATO Japan’s business website, us-ato.jp, has been offering U.S. exporters stories and news about Japanese food trends and access to Japanese food business information.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: JA2537
Post: Tokyo ATO
ATO Business Website and Smartphone Access
Agricultural Trade Office Activities
CSSF Activity Report
Steve Shnitzler, ATO Director
Sumio Thomas Aoki, Senior Marketing Specialist
ATO Japan’s business website, us-ato.jp, promotes U.S. agriculture in Japan and is a link
between U.S. and Japanese businesses. This is a review of 2012 activities and a review
of its new Smartphone application for Smartphone users that are increasing Japan.
ATO Japan’s business website, us-ato.jp, has been offering U.S. exporters stories and news about
Japanese food trends and access to Japanese food business information that would be difficult to find in
the United States. Us-ato.jp highlights cooperator marketing and promotional activities. Japanese
businesses receive information about U.S. food trends and tips to market U.S. agricultural products.
One feature that would improve the exposure of U.S. products in Japan and provide accessible
information by the Japanese was to develop and add web pages to us-ato.jp that introduced U.S.
Promote U.S. agriculture in Japan by linking U.S. and Japanese businesses and to develop Smartphone
application for Smartphone users to expand us-ato.jp accesses.
PDIC, the vendor who programs and manages us-ato.jp, developed a Smartphone program to take
advantage of the growing Smartphone culture in Japan. Japan has always been well ahead of the U.S.
with mobile phone technology, but smartphone adoption has lagged. Now with the growth of the
iPhone and the introduction of Android based devices, smartphone users are increasing in Japan,
especially in the business sector. We wanted to make sure that the site was available to this growing
Smartphone population and increase total accesses to the site. The Smartphone page is shown at the end
of this report.
The total access numbers to us-ato.jp is an average of 14,500/month between October 2011 and August
2012. In September 2012, the access number went up to 19,779 due to interest in an ATO initiative
called Taste of America. October 2012 showed another up-tick to 24,742, which was the highest
recorded access number for us-ato.jp since its inception. This was attributed to an additional 1,000 hits
from Smartphone users and an additional 4,000 who visited the site for various reasons such as Taste of
One of us-ato.jp’s functions is to receive U.S. product inquiries. These inquiries are then linked to the
Trade Lead System.
The additional feature that was reported in 2011, “Recommended American Foods” has continued to
bring newcomers as well:
US-ATO.jp strives to be a resource for business by keeping companies informed of the latest news. In the past
year, US-ATO.jp has featured articles on corn noodles, sorghum, press releases for U.S. soybeans, corn, Alaska
seafood, Blue Diamond, six Japan Food Trend reports and several reports on wine, Florida grapefruit, new
products such as Vermints (a natural breath freshener and ATO sponsored food shows such as Foodex,
Supermarket Trade Show, IFIA, and the Health Ingredients show.
Us-ato.jp’s function to connect U.S. exporters and Japanese importers has been achieved through the
inquiry page and Trade Leads System. In all, 25 trade leads have been processed through the site. ATO
has also been successful to provide the U.S. agricultural exporter community with information and
trends of Japan for potential exporters. At the same time, Japanese importers have been provided U.S.
product information and trends in the United States that offer them marketing ideas and access to new
ATO spent $40,000 on US-ATO.jp in FY 2012, plus an additional one-time $10,000 enhancement for
the smartphone feature. Post plans on maintaining the site but reduce yearly cost to $20,000-$25,000