Business / Corporate

METI and JETRO to boost e-commerce support for Japanese firms via Japan Mall websites


The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will increase support for companies trying to sell products abroad by opening more Japan Mall sites on major foreign e-commerce sites, officials said.

The support program was launched in Singapore and other nations on a trial basis in fiscal 2018 in cooperation with the state-backed Japan External Trade Organization.

Under the program, trading firms buy products, such as food and cosmetics, from Japanese firms for sale via Japan Mall. This system allows small firms to avoid the risk and expense associated with storing supplies in foreign countries.

So far, 40 small companies have been marketing some 200 items, including chocolate. “We had a good response,” a senior ministry official said.

When fiscal 2019 began in April, the ministry moved to add Japan Mall websites to major online shopping sites in 18 countries including China, the United States and Germany. In China, the world’s largest e-commerce market, METI will team up with industry behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other companies.

JETRO will support procurement of Japanese products that Chinese websites hope to sell, such as daily goods and cosmetics.

In the United States, the second largest e-commerce market, METI hopes to develop the market for Japanese food by opening a dedicated site on Rakuten USA, which is under the umbrella of Rakuten Inc. It also plans to support online sales of sake and other Japanese products in EU members Germany and France. The European Union’s economic partnership agreement with Japan took effect in February.

JETRO will advise small firms on export procedures that have been simplified for the EPA and plans to support online sales of Japanese wares in Chile, Vietnam and other members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, better known as TPP.