On Thursday 26 September 2019, the ANZCCJ jointly held a business seminar event “Australia and Japan – Investing in the Opportunities” with Austrade at the Australian Embassy Tokyo. This seminar provided business executives an overview of the opportunities for Australian and Japanese businesses in their respective markets and discussed methods for leveraging bilateral relationships to create further opportunities in other markets. Australian Ambassador to Japan, H.E Richard Court AC gave an overview of the relationship and areas for future growth, and Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner, Brett Cooper spoke about the opportunities in Japan, discussing an overview of the market, political context, and market priorities for Austrade in Japan. ANZCCJ Chair, Sally Townsend was the MC for the event, and Japan Country Manager at Commonwealth Bank, Martin Spann was moderator for the two panels which discussed “emerging opportunities and challenges for Australian businesses in Japan” and “inbound Japanese trends to Australia” followed by a Q&A session. Panellists included Managing Director & CEO of Lendlease Japan, Andrew Gauci, Director, Invest Japan Promotion Division at JETRO, Mio Kawada, Managing Director at AMP Capital Japan, Kenson Wong, Partner at Ashurst Japan, Tracy Whiriskey, Senior Vice President at Macquarie Capital Japan, Kanna Mihara, Senior Manager, Global Strategy & Regional Management Dept. at Mitsubishi Corporation, Baden Firth.
A key takeaway from the event was that there are many valuable business opportunities available in Japan, but proper research into the market, gearing your product/service delivery toward the customer, having a high standard of quality and enough understanding about the cultural differences (and the seniority of those Japanese partners you are working with) are important factors for success. Some areas of opportunity to look out for in the Japanese market include tourism, healthcare, robotics/automation, IT and infrastructure and digital development as well as renewable energies and much more as the economic and political horizon changes. Joint ownership structures and investment ventures with Japanese companies is also ripe with opportunity as companies like AMP Capital, Ashurst, Lendlease, Macquarie Capital and Mitsubishi Corporation have seen. Despite hesitations some may best approach entering the Japanese market through third markets, but there is a wealth of opportunity in the country with some panellists noting that Japan has always been a more profitable market for them rather than other key competitive markets. For those wishing to explore opportunities in Japan, please reach out to the Chamber as well as JETRO who offer advice to new market entrants.