• home

    Japan: New Outreach, At Home and Abroad


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2002

    Global trends in foreign investment, industry restructuring, the spread of international trade rules and the instantaneous availability of business information on the Internet are moving JETRO's focus beyond national borders.

    The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan's official trade promotion organization, was established in 1958. Since then, its worldwide network has grown, with 80 offices overseas and 37 local offices in Japan. Although JETRO was set up to promote Japanese exports, today it also promotes imports, technology transfer and foreign investment and supports exports and industries of developing economies. It even functions as a think-tank.

    With its extensive network, human resources and know-how, JETRO intends to evolve into a TPO serving the world. Tie-ups and cooperation between TPOs, indeed, should be our keywords.

    New focus on investment

    Traditionally, many nations have divided trade and investment promotion between separate organizations. Many TPOs contend that their primary function is to promote trade.

    JETRO has integrated trade and investment within the same organization, as it is difficult to promote trade effectively without considering global trends in foreign direct investment and national investment promotion activities.

    Our roles

    • Providing business information. Providing timely business information is more critical than ever in a globalized world. We depend on the Internet to provide information that encourages Japanese business development overseas as well as investment in Japan. JETRO disseminates national economic and trade statistics, country studies, investment data, trade fair calendars and other information on the Internet, as well as through its Trade Tie-up Promotion Programme.
    • Advocacy for freer trade. In addition to helping foreign companies access the Japanese market, JETRO promotes global and regional free trade. JETRO also helps to build capacities of selected trading partners. For instance, we hold symposia on legal infrastructures that help nations create more effective market economies.

      Restructuring of companies and industries, coupled with greater foreign direct investment, is changing international business structures on a scale and at a speed never seen before. Following the establishment of the World Trade Organization in 1995, international trade rules and dispute resolution schemes have strengthened free trade, and the new Doha Development Round will continue to do so. Regional trends supplement the global ones, with activities supporting the development of free trade agreements. Increasingly, TPOs will play a leading role in building public awareness and encouraging regional and global economic growth.

    • International cooperation. JETRO seeks to play a larger role in working with developing countries to strengthen their trade development capacities. Like the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, JETRO is moving away from building infrastructure and towards encouraging good corporate governance and sound economic legal systems, and fostering self-sustaining industries. JETRO's strength is in the development of policy and human resources for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
    • Think-tank. JETRO conducts studies with foreign governments of potential free trade agreements between Japan and countries such as Chile, the Republic of Korea and Mexico. JETRO also conducts market access studies that compare Japanese regulations and practices with those of other countries to provide a practical reference point when the Government considers reforms.
    • Business support to SMEs. JETRO provides support to SMEs to expand their overseas opportunities. We are emphasizing our online Trade Tie-Up Promotion Programme, which matches Japanese and foreign SMEs for activities related to trade, investment and technology.

    Japan External Trade Organization

    • Mandate: Trade promotion and foreign direct investment.
    • Institutional positioning: Government-affiliated organization supervised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
    • Founded: 1958.
    • Location: Based in Tokyo with 80 offices abroad and 37 in Japan.
    • Funding: Budget of US$ 370 million, funded 60% from national subsidies and 40% from other sources.
    • Staff: 1,500.
    • Of interest: New emphasis on investment promotion; openness to cooperation and partnerships with other TPOs.

    2-5, Toranomon 2-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8466, Japan
    Tel.: +813 3582 5511
    Fax : +813 3582 5662
    E-mail: webmaster@jetro.go.jp
    Web site: http://www.jetro.go.jp

    Hiroshi Yokokawa is Executive Vice President of the Japan External Trade Organization. He can be contacted through webmaster@jetro.go.jp.