“Cleantech Opportunities in Japan” Seminar, Cambridge,December 12th

for December, 2013

“Cleantech Opportunities in Japan” Seminar, Cambridge,December 12th

Posted on 15 December 2013 in Market Insight -

Cleantech Opportunities in Japan

Thursday, December 12th

Deloitte, Cambridge

cambridge cleantech

Martin Garratt, Chief Executive of Cambridge Cleantech opened the seminar by giving an outline of Cambridge Cleantech and its activities. Jun Arima, Director General of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in London and Special Advisor on Global Environmental Affairs for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), gave an informative presentation on opportunities and incentives in the renewable energy sector and explained about the generous feed-in tariffs available for companies in this sector. He then took questions from the audience and explained the support available from JETRO in investing in Japan. Alan Highet, UKTI then spoke about support available from the UKTI and an upcoming trade mission in this sector to Japan. Sarah Parsons, MD of Japan in Perspective and co- organiser of this event gave an overview of doing business in Japan explaining why Japan is good to invest in from an economic and political point of view and outlining differences in market entry strategies, consumer behaviour, corporate culture and communication styles that need to be taken into account before doing business there. Dr Kevin Parslow, CEO from Evance Wind spoke about how his company, which produces small wind turbines, became the first overseas company to receive certification in Japan through partnering with a Japanese company. The final speaker was Professor Doug Brown, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research and a visiting scholar at Doshisha University, who explained about research being undertaken at Doshisha University on the Cleantech sector and current projects underway in Japan.

This was then followed by Q & A and networking with lunch. Questions covered waste management in Japan, product patents, time scales on both the feed-in tariffs and Japanese electricity grid improvements as well as governmental policies affecting investment in this sector.

This was a fantastic lunch-time seminar which gave attendees up to date information and  strategies related to doing business in this sector in Japan. Hopefully it will be the first of many Japan related events for the members of Cambridge Cleantech in collaboration with Japan in Perspective.

All presentations  will be on the Cambridge clean tech website.

Possible Visit Opportunities to Japan in 2014 

  • Kawasaki International Eco-Tech Fair: 14 & 15 February 2014“Bringing Kawasaki’s environmental technologies to the world.”


Wind Expo, Battery Japan 2014, International Smart Grid Expo, Eco House Expo, FC Expo (Hydrogen and fuel cell)

  • Renewable energy international conference organised every four years by Japan Council for Renewable Energy alongside Renewable Energy International Exhibition Tokyo. http://www.renewableenergy.jp/

Good research exhibitors. Possible dates: conference 27th July-1st August exhibition 30th July-1st August


  • Reif (Renewable Energy Industry Fair) Fukushima http://reif-fukushima.jp/english/outline.html “We, Fukushima Prefecture, are proceeding several activities for clustering and promoting the industry related to renewable energy in order to realize our plan to generate 100% of electricity consumed in Fukushima from renewable sources until around the year of 2040 through utilizing the abundant resources of renewable energy.” Possible dates November 2014.


Read more

Olympic Opportunities

Posted on 6 December 2013 in Market Insight -

I listened in on a UKTI webinar this week about possible opportunities for UK businesses at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Naturally, given the experience and success of London 2012, thoughts have turned to whether British companies can contribute and indeed benefit commercially from this.

It is however prudent to note that since Japan is a very well developed country with previous Olympic experience and many cutting-edge technologies already in place, it would not be the best market entry strategy to go in assuming they are in need of your expertise and don’t know what they are doing- this attitude may ruin your chance of success even before you have started! However, the UKTI have identified market areas where initial opportunities lie should you have a niche USP for your product, preferably proven expertise, a solid market plan, an insight into the Japanese way of doing business and most importantly the right connections. These were summarised as;

  • Advisory
  • Interior and graphic design
  • Landscaping
  • Security and safety
  • Cyber security
  • ICT
  • Sports related technology
  • Coaching and training equipment
  • (My own added in) Energy saving technologies

As to how to start your business dealings with Japan, their advice matched my own-do your market research and start making contacts now! Connections and relationships are key to doing business in Japan, which usually take a long time to foster to the point of gaining their trust and sealing the deal. As has happened in previous Olympics, bids are usually sent out to local partners first, so partnering with Japanese companies in these areas may be a more viable and manageable option than going it alone. It may even be worth looking at the Sponsors and see if there are any potential inroads there. Be especially careful of red tape (an infamous bug-bear in Japanese business dealings) and the use of the Olympic logos, which have very strict guidelines and will be unusable for most SMEs partnering with Japanese businesses.

The bidding process will not start until after the formation of the TOCOG (Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) next February and their methodology will be dictated heavily by the IOC. TOCOG will then make this information public according to its own guidelines. The UK Foreign Secretary has submitted the offer of a host-to-host agreement from London 2012 and Japan is considering this and the UKTI anticipate holding various seminars in Tokyo about lessons learned from London 2012.

Please contact me should you need market research or help with facilitating connections.



Read more