How to make composite business in Japan ?


Japan is the one of matured countries of fibers (carbon fibers, glass fibers, other organic fibers etc.) and has also many enterprises of application like automotives (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, etc) or electronics (Panasonic, Hitachi, Toshiba, Sharp etc). The country has very unique business atmosphere where the wide range of enterprises are existing in very small area. I have had many business trip to Asian countries, Europe, and the United States, and noticed that many enterprises outside of Japan are interested in making/start the composite business in Japan. But they don’t have any exactly idea regarding actual status or manner of composite business in Japan, and it would lead to lose the chance to make the composite business in Japan because of the lack of proper information to think about it even though Japan has the very high potential area to make the new composite business.


I, FRP consultant who is engineering experts regarding composite design/material and is now consulting companies as an engineering consultant , are trying to write down the column about the topics of “how to make composite business in Japan”.


Key points in manufacturing industries in Japan

There are 4 points when we try to understand manufacturing industries status in Japan as the initial information to consider starting composite business in Japan.


a. Work division for the purpose of promoting research & development efficiency

b. Very sensitive to disclose the information

c. Detail information preference

d. Domestic support importance



a. Work division for the purpose of promoting research & development efficiency

This might be the same as in other countries, but work division is thoroughly promoted especially big companies in Japan. It is not surprised that a employee does not totally know what the nearest neighbors are doing in the same office. They are specialists in the very narrow area, but they don’t have well skills and knowledge outside of their area.

The division method has been also well applied in the supplier chains. Many companies are behaving the factors of supplier chain and it has become a very big and complex enterprise in other words.

The work division and supplier chain is well functioned when they are continuing very similar products but all of them are feeling of crisis that they would not make the innovation.


b. Very sensitive to disclose the information

Japanese companies are normally very sensitive regarding confidential information disclosure. This status would not be changed basically even though there exists NDA. Of course, protecting confidential information is very important but they are trying to close all information even which shall be disclosed to let outside know their own requirement or requests to make the new products and business. Therefore, there remain many potential projects which shall be accelerate to collaborate other companies.


c. Detail information preference

Some of enterprises are preferring detail information, especially engineering view points because the contact persons need to persuade their boss to start R&D projects, even though just purchasing samples in many cases. Very detailed and organized engineering information would be necessary their inside discussion for project promotion. If the homepage or leaflet contains the detail information, it would be really appreciated especially in the initial information collection status.


d. Domestic support importance

When the products outside of Japan would be very good and people in enterprises would like to use the products, they should set up very high priority whether there exist “local engineering/sales support in Japan”. Even if the products show the advantage of properties, enterprises in Japan are going to hesitate to go further or not. As support member located in Japan shall be japanese-mother-tongue and have basic engineering knowledge regarding the products.



Strategy to make and success of composite business in Japan


There are 3 points as the strategy in composite business in Japan.


a. Information penetration of products to wide range of enterprises

For the purpose of achieve information penetration, the target shall be wide range of enterprises because the information could not be penetrated in deeply in Japan market if the information is easily understand in wide specialized peoples in the enterprises like raw material, fiber, prepreger, molding, machining, inspection, and design, considering work division culture. The important points of penetrating information are;


– Initiating the product concept how to use it

– Very easy to understand even the information readers are not specialized in it


The concept image is very important. If the applied image of the product is clear, it will be well accepted. The concept should initiate the user’s (initial contact person’s) inspiration and this is the first step to make the business. Video is the best as information medium, and slides and documents shall be prepared as parallel, then opened in URL.

The specialized word can be used, but the sentence should be basically easy to understand. Because of work division culture, many of employees in big enterprises know very much well in the specific field, but don’t have specific idea outside of their professional field.


b. Engineering data preparation

Quantitative engineering data compared to competitive products is greatly preferred as comparison to other materials. Many of enterprises in Japan, engineering persons will be the initial contact person to think about the products, so engineering data should be the greatly support for them. The engineering data shall be included the initial information mentioned above.


c. Domestic support in Japan

As mentioned above, domestic support existence would be treated as one of the highest priority to decide the product application to the new project in Japan. A feeling of relief might have very big impact on the final decision. It would be difficult to make domestic support without any business achievement, but the support from engineering consultants, trading companies, etc by term limited contract would be the initial support base.



Today I wrote down the summary column regarding making the composite business in Japan. The content would be very general content but such kind of general content, the essence in other words, will be forgotten in many cases because of the plenty of complex information.

The content above is NOT based on internet information BUT my actual experience as employee in the big automotive enterprise and engineering consulting support to many companies.


I do hope that this column would help companies outside of Japan which are considering to start or promote the composite business in Japan.

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