When Asia's largest naval and maritime exhibition wrapped up in Singapore earlier this month, more than 250 companies from 25 countries and regions had shown off their latest tech and gear.

But one would have been hard-pressed to find Japanese firms.

In fact, just one company — Tokyo-based ship classification society ClassNK — had a stand at IMDEX Asia 2023, while eight other countries, including Australia, Italy, Denmark and the United States, set up entire pavilions at the three-day event.