Trading Partner Portal: Japan
Interview Series Featuring California’s Key Trading Partners – Featuring Toru Maeda, Consul General of Japan in San Francisco:
Longtime Commercial Relations Promote Opportunities to Form Reliable Partnerships
CalChamber, September 18, 2020
The United States is a large supplier of chemicals, transportation equipment, and computer and electronic products to Japan. Japan is also one of the largest U.S. foreign markets for agricultural products. U.S. exports to Japan were $64.09 billion in 2020, making it the fourth largest export destination for the U.S. Imports from Japan to the United States were $119.51 billion, with transportation equipment accounting for38.7 percent. According to the most recent figures, U.S. direct investment to Japan totaled $131.79 billion in 2019, largely in financial, software and Internet services (BEA). Foreign direct investment from Japan into the United States was $644.7 billion in 2019, making it the number one largest source of FDI in the US that year. In 2018, Japanese FDI in the US supported 948,100 jobs and contributed $10.9 billion to research and development, as well as another $84.5 billion to expanding US exports. The top industry sectors for Japanese FDI are: auto components, industrial equipment, automotive OEM, plastics, software and IT services, and metals. (Select USA)
California continues to be the top exporting state to Japan, accounting for over 16.6% of total US exports. Japan has remained California’s fourth largest export market since 2010, after Mexico, Canada and China. California exports to Japan, the world’s third largest economy, totaled $10.65 billion in 2020. Computers and electronic products accounted for 18.9 percent of total exports. Imports into California from Japan were $20.36 billion in 2020, with transportation equipment accounting for over a quarter of total imports. California is currently the top importing state in the US for products from Japan.
In California, Japan is the largest source of FDI through foreign-owned enterprises (FOEs). Japanese FOEs in California in 2020 provided 115,420 jobs through 3,672 firms amounting to $10.6 billion in wages, down from 121,223 jobs through 3,880 firms amounting to $10.988 billion in wages in 2019. The top jobs by sector are: manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities, and professional/business services. (World Trade Center Los Angeles FDI Report, June 2021).
Japan News Updates and Resources
|JBIC Signs MOU with the US State of California: Supporting Business Expansion of Japanese Companies in California, Advanced State of Global Environmental Protection
Japan Bank for International Cooperation, March 5, 2021California and Japan Bank for International Cooperation Ratify Agreement to Expand Relations in Sustainability and Economic Development
Office of Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, March 4, 2021
Blue Dot Network: The Belt and Road Alternative
The Diplomat, April 7, 2020
Japanese Manners Videos Show How to Be a “Really Cool” Traveller in Japan
SoraNews24, January 27, 2020
Japan in the Bay Area: Collaboration and Transformation
The Bay Area Economic Council, December 2019
Japan Plans to Spend $120 Billion to Stimulate Slowing Economy
The New York Times, December 5, 2019
The Pension Fund Trying to Change the World by Hiromichi Mizuno (page 84)
Time Magazine, September 23, 2019
Japan House Los Angeles Celebrates August Grand Opening of New Cultural Destination
Japan House, July 24, 2018
Japan House to Open Cultural Promotion Center in Los Angeles
The Japan Times, December 1, 2017
U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement
On September 25, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York that the United States and Japan have agreed to a partial trade deal that will reduce or eliminate Japanese tariffs on U.S. agricultural products as well as U.S. tariffs on some industrial goods. A separate agreement establishes high-standard digital trade rules said to be similar to those in the USMCA.
Joint Statement of the United States and Japan
White House, September 26, 2019
President Donald J. Trump Has Reached Agreements with Japan to Improve Trade Between Our Nations
White House, September 25, 2019
FACT SHEET on U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement
U.S. Trade Representative, September 2019
CalChamber, October 18, 2018
The U.S. Trade Representative notified Congress of the Trump administration’s intent to enter into trade negotiations with three markets: the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
President Donald J. Trump is working to open new markets for U.S. farmers and companies where they currently face significant barriers. As U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) noted, new high-standard trade agreements with each of these countries would expand the United States’ ability to sell “made in America” products around the globe and deepen partnerships with vital allies.
Pursuant to the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) process, the U.S. Trade Representative must give notice to Congress of the intent to enter into trade negotiations. The trade representative’s October 16 letter to Congress opened a 90-day consultation period in which members of Congress and stakeholders may outline negotiating objectives. TPA also requires the publication of detailed negotiating objectives at least 30 days before the start of talks.
The EU, UK, and Japan are all vital trading partners of the United States and California.
Japan is also one of the largest U.S. foreign markets for agricultural products. U.S. exports to Japan were $67.69 billion in 2017, making it the fourth largest export destination for the United States
Eleven Pacific Rim countries signed the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday afternoon, March 8, 2018 in Santiago, Chile finalizing the trade and investment agreement just over a year after the American withdrawal left its fate in question.
The pact, renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (can be abbreviated as CPTPP or TPP-11), retains all of the tariff reductions and eliminations from the original version signed in 2016 by the 11 nations and the U.S. It suspends 22 other provisions, including some intellectual property rules.
The TPP-11 will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 percent of the global economy – a total of $10 trillion in gross domestic product. With the United States, it would have represented 40 percent. Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of nearly 500 million people, making it one of the world’s largest trade agreements.
With the deal signed, members will begin domestic ratification procedures. The TPP-11 will take effect once it is approved by at least six countries.
Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement
Canada, Mexico and Japan have stated their intent to join the TPP negotiations.
CalChamber’s Comments in Support of JapanJanuary 11, 2012
Yokohama, Japan & APEC 2010
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
After 8 years of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed on November 15, 2020. The RCEP is a free trade agreement (FTA) with 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states—Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam—and the five states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs—Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Please see the CalChamber’s RCEP page for more info.
June 25, 2019
An annual meeting between the California Chamber of Commerce and Japan business leaders highlighted California’s continuing interdependence with one of its largest trade and investment partners.
Leading the Japanese business delegation were Kiichi Nakajima, president of the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA) and vice president of the Southwest Region with Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., as well as, Masayuki Matsumura, vice president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC) and director of Mizuho Bank.
Representing the CalChamber at the Thursday, June 20, luncheon were Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO, and Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs.
Annual Japanese Business Association of Southern California and Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California Luncheon, June 21, 2017
Japan-California Trade/Investment Ties: Annual Meeting Keeps Connections Strong, June 22, 2016
The numerous areas that affect trade and investment between California and Japan, one of the state’s largest export partners, were the subject of a lively exchange on June 22, 2016 at the annual luncheon meeting between the California Chamber of Commerce and leaders of Japanese companies with operations in the state.
Conversations touched upon topics such as the California legislative and regulatory process; state, U.S. and Japanese election politics; and presidential candidates’ attitudes toward pending trade agreements.
Heading the Japanese business delegation were Ken-ichi Sato, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC), and Satoshi Okawa, president of the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA).
Representing the CalChamber at the luncheon were CalChamber Board member Frank Washington, CEO of Crossings TV, and Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs.
Japanese Business Federation Visit Highlights Importance of Relationship with U.S., California
CalChamber, August 11, 2015
Annual Visit Highlights Japan-California Trade/Investment Partnership, June 18, 2015
The annual meeting between the California Chamber of Commerce and Japan business leaders highlighted California’s continuing interdependence with one of its largest export partners.
Leading the Japanese business delegation were Hitoshi Yamamuro, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC), and Hideo Miyake, president of the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA).
Representing the CalChamber at the luncheon were Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO, and Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs.
Ms. Nakagawa is the Executive Director of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California
Nichi Bei Weekly, February 19, 2015
Survey of Japanese Companies In Southern California 2014
Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA) & Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), August 2014
Japanese Investors in California
Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC) & Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA), June 2014
Consular Corps Reception
Japan and California: Partners Across the Pacific
Presented by the California Chamber of Commerce, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, Japan Business Association of Southern California
At the consular corps reception, held in Sacramento on May 21, 2012, are (from left) Hiroshi Haruki, Fujitsu Management Services of America, ; Governor Brown; and Hideki Oshima, Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.
(February 20, 2014) The California Chamber of Commerce served as a supporting organization for a recent symposium focusing on “Opportunities for Innovation: Getting More Involved with Japanese Business.”
The Japan-U.S. Business and Technology Symposium was held in San Francisco earlier this month, and Susanne Stirling, CalChamber vice president of international affairs, was in attendance.
The event was hosted by the Japan External Organization (JETRO), a nonprofit government-related organization that helps U.S. companies establish a Japan office and find Japanese business partners. JETRO also connects U.S. investors with Japanese ventures, and promotes Japanese goods.
Toshiro Okada, director of the San Francisco JETRO office, welcomed the more the 200 attendees. Tsuneyuki Kato, executive vice president of JETRO based in Tokyo, added his welcome, before Hidehiro Yokoo, director general of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) discussed Invest in Japan: New Chances for your Business.
Aligning with the recent Japanese “Abenomics” measures, the symposium aimed to reinvigorate economic interaction between Japan and the United States. Shinzo Abe’s comeback as prime minister is currently driving Japan’s economic turnaround.
In his keynote speech at the symposium, Director General Yokoo focused on the “Three Arrows of Abenomics.” These include:
- a bold monetary policy,
- a flexible fiscal policy, and
- a growth strategy to energize the private industry.
The third point includes regulatory reform, promoting economic partnerships (such as the Trans Pacific Partnership) and supporting the advancement of women in the Japanese workforce.
According to JETRO, Japan has an attractive investment environment with a well-developed infrastructure, sophisticated market, high level of innovation, and a safe and comfortable living environment. The real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate has gone from negative to positive.
As the third largest economy in the world by GDP, Japan is undergoing an economic revitalization while remaining one of the United States’ most important economic partners. World economy dynamics continue to change rapidly with the rise of the emerging markets, thus making a strong relationship between Japan and the United States critical to the economic health of both countries.
During the February 10 symposium, attendees were introduced to recent Japanese technologies advances and learned how such innovations are essential to growth in several industries. The symposium also provided an opportunity to learn about supportive measures by the Japanese government such as subsidies, preferential treatment, and deregulation for foreign business establishments in Japan. Government incentives for investment are available via JETRO and METI.
Breakout sessions with industry professionals from both countries focused on specific, high-growth industries to discuss funding opportunities, explore how Japanese expertise can provide additional value to U.S. businesses, and understand how the U.S. and Japanese enterprise can boost business collaboration.
Breakout session topics include Information Technology, Energy & Environment, and Healthcare & Medical Devices. The event concluded with a closing session on Demystifying Japan.
Economic Recovery Efforts in Japan
On June 23, 2011 CalChamber hosted its annual luncheon welcoming guests representing Japanese – American business in California.
Japan’s economic recovery after the Tohoku earthquake and related tsunami was the topic of discussion during a luncheon yesterday with representatives of the Japan Business Association (JBA) and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC) hosted by the California Chamber of Commerce.
CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg met with the groups to help them celebrate some significant milestones. JBA is celebrating its 50th anniversary, while JCCNC is celebrating its 60th.
Figures released in May showed that Japan’s economy shrank at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2011, tipping the country into a recession, as the crisis disrupted production and prompted consumers to cut back on spending. Economists projected that the Japanese economy will shrink again in the second current quarter, but that the recession may be deep but quick, The New York Times recently reported.
Japan recently launched the Visit Japan 2011 campaign, spreading the world that the nation is safe for visitors traveling on business and pleasure. For more information visit the website, www.visitjapan.jp
The U.S. State Department recently updated its travel alert for Japan, saying that while the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains serious and dynamic, the health and safety risks to land areas outside a 50-mile radius of the plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens.
Related Articles & Documents:
- Perceptions of Japanese Investors about Business Retention and Expansion in California 2011
- California Japan – Business Recovery Forum 2011
- Japan’s Current Status and Challenges Towards Recovery 2011
The Alliance Forum Foundation (AFF) was founded in 1985 in California. During the 1980’s, AFF played a significant role in easing trade friction between Japan and the US in the field of industrial high technology. In the early 1990’s, AFF concentrated its efforts on the promotion of strategic business tie-ups between US IT /bio venture companies and leading Japanese companies with support from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and the US Government. Today, the mission of the Alliance Forum Foundation is evolving with the times. Beginning in the year 2000, AFF redefined its objectives and multi-faceted mission based on the recognition that computer-centralized technology has reached maturization as the core industry driving the global economy. As a result, the foundation is focusing its efforts and activities on the following three themes:
The Themes of AFF’s Vision for the 21st Century:
- Nurturing new technologies and industries capable of generating a new core industry and facilitating debate on new industries for the post-computer era.
- Promoting exchange and debate centering on new forms of corporate governance, corporate management, and the theory of Public Interest Capitalism which can provide solutions to problems encountered by shareholder-centric management that places over-emphasis on short-term profit for shareholders.
- Fostering debate, exchange, and collaboration in various fields related to poverty alleviation in developing countries.
JETRO Affiliation Program
The California Chamber of Commerce recently has signed onto the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Affiliation Program.
The “JETRO Connection,” is designed to foster dynamic and mutually beneficial relationships between JETRO and various industry-affiliated and government-related organizations and media. Working as a bridge, JETRO helps organizations stay connected with up-to-date Japanese market information, and makes it easy to reach vibrant and competitive Japanese companies. Both organizations have agreed to support events, distribute information and assist members in trade-related endeavors.
Find a Business Partner via JETRO
If your company is not yet ready to open an independent office in Japan, start by working with a Japanese partner who knows the market, has a developed network, and understands the business climate of Japan. Qualified companies can apply to join one of our Business Matching or Invitation Programs.
JETRO Recent Event: Japan-U.S. Business & Technology Symposium – February 2014
-Opportunities for Innovation: Getting More Involved with Japanese Business-
Information about JETRO
JETRO USA Launches New Website
JETRO USA takes a big step towards providing better support for U.S. companies looking to do business with Japan by launching its new and more interactive website at
The website, fitted with a dramatically new design and navigation, will draw attention to JETRO USA’s two main focuses:
- Helping U.S. companies establish a business presence in Japan.
- Helping U.S. companies procure Japanese goods and technology from Japan.
Aug. 28, 2012 – The subsidy Program for Promoting Asian Site Location in Japan is intended to sustain and strengthen high-value-added business sites in Japan and to achieve sustainable growth of the Japanese economy by supporting the establishment of new high-value-added sites in Japan by global companies operating internationally, such as Regional Headquarters or R&D Sites, which have been proven to have a significant impact on the Japanese economy, and by strategically and proactively inviting and building high-value-added business functions that match the strength of the Japanese economy.
- (Reference) List of projects selected under the FY 2011 Subsidy Program for Projects Promoting Asian Site Location in Japan
- Subsidy Program for Projects Promoting Asian Site Location in Japan: Application Guidelines
- Application Forms
- (Reference) guidelines for Completing Application Forms
2010 Asia Trade Mission
Governor Schwarzenegger announced in July 2010 that he would lead a delegation of California business leaders and key State of California government officials to Asia in September 2010. Asia is a dynamic and growing market for California products, produce and intellectual property. The dates of the trade mission were September 9, 2010 to September 15, 2010. The delegation started in Hangzhou and Shanghai, traveled to Tokyo and ended in Seoul. This trade mission was successful and will bring many economic and cultural benefits to the people of California.
CalChamber Joins Governor on Successful Asia Trade Mission
CalChamber, September 21, 2010
2004 Trade Mission to Japan
The California Chamber of Commerce joined Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s trade and tourism mission to Japan. The November 2004 visit was the Governor’s first trade mission to promote California’s business climate, to encourage travel and tourism, and to market California-grown products.
Read the entire story in the November 2004 Alert .
Annual Visit Highlights Japan-California Trade Partnership – June 19, 2014
An annual meeting between the California Chamber of Commerce and Japan business leaders on June 19, 2014 highlighted the state’s continuing interdependence with one of its largest export partners.Leading the Japanese business delegation were Hitoshi Yamamuro, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC), and Hideo Miyake, president of the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA).
Representing the CalChamber at the luncheon were Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO, and Susanne Stirling, vice president, international affairs.
Alert Story (July 11, 2014)
|CalChamber Hosts The Technology Advanced Metropolitan Area (TAMA) Association from Japan|
|The California Chamber of Commerce hosted representatives from the Japanese Northern California Chamber of Commerce and The Technology Advanced Metropolitan Area (TAMA) Association, based in Tokyo on December 17. This meeting was focused on TAMA’s plan to begin doing business with California in 2014.|
|Japanese Business Executives Meet with CalChamber Leaders|
Leaders of Japanese companies with a California presence mingled with colleagues and members of the California Chamber of Commerce on June 13, 2013 in Sacramento. Representatives of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California and the Japan Business Association of Southern California visit Sacramento each year to bring attention to the long-standing economic ties between California and Japan.
|Impact of Toyota, Japan-Affiliated Companies in Spotlight|
|Japanese Business Executives Meet with CalChamber Leaders|
|Leaders of Japanese companies with a California presence mingled with colleagues and members of the California Chamber of Commerce on May 21-22, 2012 in Sacramento. Representatives of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California and the Japan Business Association of Southern California visit Sacramento each year to bring attention to the long-standing economic ties between California and Japan.|
|CalChamber and Japanese Business Leaders Discuss Trade at CalChamber-Hosted Luncheon Gathering|
|On June 23, 2011 members of the Japan Business Association and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California met with California Chamber of Commerce representatives to exchange comments on Japan’s economic recovery efforts, international trade and the world economy. Both associations include Japanese businesses that invest in California and employ Californians. JBA is marking its 50th anniversary in California while JCCNC is observing its 60th year.
|New Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine Visits CalChamber||Vice Minister Shukuri Visits CalChamber|
|Chamber Joins Governor on Trade Mission to Japan||Forum Highlights California-Japan Trade Relations|
(November 29, 2007) The ever-changing business environment in California and the importance of the state’s trade with Japan received a close look recently when California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg addressed the 14th annual gathering of the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA).
More than 150 guests – Japanese and American business executives who work for Japanese-affiliated companies – greeted Zaremberg and Assemblyman Chuck Devore (R-Irvine) at the November 15 forum.
The November 10-13, 2004 visit was the Governor’s first trade mission to promote California’s business climate, to encourage travel and tourism, and to market California-grown products. The Governor and delegation accompanying him met with business and government leaders and participated in events to promote California.
The California business delegation included:
Key Country Contacts
- U.S. Commercial Service Japan
- AmCham Japan
- Japan America Society
- Japan Business Association
- Japan Echo
- Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
- METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
- Technology Advanced Metropolitan Area (TAMA) Association / Greater Tokyo Initiative
- Why Japan? : 5 reasons to invest in JAPAN