Swedish furniture giant Ikea plans to launch operations in Japan this summer, marking what a representative of the firm has described as the “biggest greenfield foreign investment ever made in Japan.”

Tommy Kullberg, Ikea’s newly appointed representative to Japan, said the group initially plans to launch four to six outlets, with the first expected to open in Tokyo in three to five years.

Kullberg did not reveal the magnitude of the firm’s initial investment in Japan, however, declining to comment on reports in Sweden that the figure will be $1 billion.

He said that although Ikea does not plan to forge alliances with Japanese furniture companies, it may work with domestic firms on acquiring land or establishing outlets.

Each Ikea store will encompass some 30,000 sq. meters, will have parking space for some 1,500 cars, and will have between 400 and 500 employees, Kullberg said.

Given the size of Japan’s economy and its high savings rate, the number of outlets will increase in the future, he said.

Kullberg added that Ikea could eventually have more stores in Japan than the 30 it has in Germany, which is currently its largest market.

He said the company may establish outlets in areas outside Tokyo, such as Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

“No doubt our ambition is high,” he said.

Kullberg, 54, said he will officially reveal Ikea’s investment plans when the group officially sets up its Japan unit in August or September.

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