Cleantech opportunities in Japan

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As the world's third largest economy, and with a government committed to renewable energy, the market opportunities for clean technology in Japan today are real and lucrative.

This is the key conclusion of a new report by Kachan & Co., carried out in partnership with JETRO (the Japan External Trade Organization), based on an online survey in June 2012 of Japan and U.S.-based professionals, experts and academia involved in cleantech in Japan.

Additionally, a vibrant manufacturing industry makes it an attractive place to do business if a company knows how to navigate the system and understands the country's immediate and future cleantech needs, states the report.

Dallas Kachan, Managing Partner of Kachan & Co., told GLOBE-Net that 'Japan's reinvigorated focus on renewable energy and supporting technologies was triggered by the Fukushima disaster, the energy crisis that followed, and dramatic new feed-in tariffs (FITs).'

'Our report found surprising levels of subsidies, tax breaks and other incentives available in Japan for cleantech R&D, manufacturing and energy generation on a national level and in various regions and cities throughout the country,' he said.

'While other countries are just starting to delve into the clean technology industry, this is not a new area for Japan: companies like these, as well as others, have been developing and providing cleantech solutions since the 1970s.'Dallas katchan notes that Japan is known for its technological innovation, vis-à-vis its multinational, technology and automobile companies.

Japan's reinvigorated focus on renewable energy and supporting technologies was triggered by the Fukushima disaster, the energy crisis that followed, and dramatic new feed-in tariffs (FITs).

While solar is expected to lead the way-Japan is projected to become the second largest solar market (up from its current rank of sixth)-there are other renewable energy projects projected for the country.

The key findings and insights of this report include:

  • The Japanese feed-in tariffs are among the highest in the world and will likely cause Japan to become one of the key markets for renewable energy companies, domestically and worldwide. Japan's interest in North American cleantech companies should also be predicted to increase; likewise, North American companies are more likely to locate an office in Japan to take advantage of new opportunities.
  • Subsidies, tax breaks and other incentives for renewable energy and clean technology projects, including R&D, manufacturing and energy generation, are not only available on a national level, but also in various regions and cities throughout Japan.
  • Japan's unique business environment requires an understanding of its customs and culture to be successful: it is helpful to hire locally.
  • Partnerships are crucial to navigate and break into the Japanese market, and, with patience, these can reap major rewards.

The research was further supported by interviews by Katchan and Co. with select executives and experts in the industry to get their perspectives, advice and feedback on the cleantech landscape in Japan.

The organizations consulted for this project represent a mix of Japanese and foreign companies in such areas as equity investment, technology, manufacturing and professional services.

These include multinational corporations, cleantech and energy companies, green organizations and engineering firms such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Digital Grid, Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd, Q-Cells, Green Japan, Sumitomo Corporation, Fujitsu Research Institute, PADECO, and UFJ Mitsubishi Capital.

Download the free Kachan - JETRO report on Cleantech Opportunities in Japan here

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