Welcome to Japan
Japan’s economic influence is pervasive. It is nearly impossible to engage in any form of business without encountering the global reach of Japanese technology, business, and finance. Japan’s economy is the third largest in the world by nominal GDP. Japan’s industrial sector is expansive, encompassing such industries as pharmaceutical research and manufacturing, instrumentation, machine tools, robotics, ship and heavy equipment building, consumer electronics, automobile manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing, optical fibers, optoelectronics, optical media, facsimile and copy machines, and fermentation processes in food and biochemistry.
Japan’s service economy is equally broad, accounting for more than two thirds of Japan’s GDP. Japan’s financial services sector is particularly robust. Tokyo has earned the moniker, “London of Asia,” for its role as a major banking center in the Far East. After merging with the Osaka Stock Exchange in January 2013, the Tokyo Stock Exchange became the largest exchange in Asia and the second largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization. Japan is one of the world's largest creditors, generally running a considerable net international investment surplus.
These achievements have been realized in one of the most unlikely places. Geographically, Japan is an island country slightly smaller than the state of California. It is a mountainous country, and less than 20% of its land is arable. Despite one of the highest agricultural yield rates, Japan is less than 50% self sufficient and must import not only much of its food but also most of its energy and other raw materials for its manufacturing and building industries. Additionally, Japan is located along several major Pacific fault lines and is frequently plagued with earthquakes and volcanic activity from its numerous, active volcanoes.
Despite these challenges, Japan has become an enclave for numerous high tech industries and is well know for its quality manufacturing. Its population is highly educated, and its per capita production of registered patents is one of the highest in the world. As a consequence of the wealth of its domestic markets and their hunger for consumer products made domestically and abroad, competition for meaningful market share in Japan’s economy has intensified both among domestic producers and foreign businesses who seek to do business in Japan.
Those economic battles have spilled over into Japan’s courts and have fed the rising tide of Japanese intellectual property and general commercial litigation. Encountering patent and other litigation in Japan and litigating U.S. counterparts of Japanese patents in U.S. courts are very real prospects for many non-Japanese entities. Likewise, as small and medium sized Japanese companies expand into overseas markets, they will increasingly be ensnared in litigation in the United States and Europe.
YMF Law sits at the intersection of these cross-border disputes and is uniquely situated to advise and support both Japanese and non-Japanese companies involved in legal conflict. Please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can assist you.