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  • Seminar Report

    A high-level workshop on the

    challenges and business opportunities for EU SMEs in Japan

    and how intermediary organisations can help SMEs seize them

    27 November 2012

  • 1SeminarReport2012: AworkshoponthechallengesandbusinessopportunitiesforEUSMEsinJapanandhowintermediaryorganisationscanhelpSMEsseizethem

    SSuummmmaarryySMEs play a critical role in both the EU and Japanese economies. This workshop looked at why Japan should be an attractive market for European SMEs; the issues they face when exporting or investing there, how support strategies should be rethought to ensure that SMEs get effective help; the results of a survey of the views of SMEs that are currently actively engaged with Japan or have a strong intention to do so; and support programmes organised and run by the European Commission, the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation and the role for the Enterprise Europe Network. Participants heard the experiences of a European who has been in Japan for 30 years and of a Slovenian SME that has established a subsidiary in Japan, together with the views of other experts from Japan and Europe.

    SSeemmiinnaarrOOuuttlliinnee Date: Tuesday, 27 November 2012, 14:00 17:00 Venue: Centre Borschette, European Commission, 36 rue Froissart, 1040 Brussels Organised by: EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation (EUJC) Programme:

    Moderator Wolfgang PAPE, Research Fellow, The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and former General Manager, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

    Introduction European Commission support for the internationalisation of SMEs Marshall HSIA, Policy Officer Enterprise Europe Network, DG Enterprise & Industry, European Commission

    Part One: Opportunities in Japan for European SMEs

    Advantages of Doing Business in Japan Hiroshi TSUKAMOTO, General Manager, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

    European SMEs: Rethinking their Needs and Potential in Japan Jean-Michel MOLLIER, Managing Director, ERAI Japan K.K.

    Challenges and business opportunities for EU SMEs in Japan Honami YATAGAI, Representative, Kanagawa Prefectural Government

    Experiences of Cosylab in Japan Mark PLEKO, CEO, Cosylab d.d.

    Part Two: Issues faced by SMEs and possible solutions and some possible solutions: (EU-level initiatives to support EU SMEs who work with Japan or wish to do so)

    SME Internationalisation to Japan Survey 2012 Diane VAN BOCKSTAL, Director, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

    The experience of an Enterprise Europe Network Partner helping SMEs with Japan Eva KUDRNOV, Department of Business Development, Technology Centre ASCR

    EU Gateway to Japan Ellen PEDERSEN, Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), European Commission Executive Training Programme (ETP) in Japan and Korea General Overview Daniel VAN ASSCHE, ETP Project Manager, FPI, European Commission SME support activities managed by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation Jessica MICHELSON, Manager, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

    Part Three: Panel discussion


    Daniel CLOQUET, Director, Entrepreneurship & SMEs, BUSINESSEUROPE Luc HENDRICKX, Director, Enterprise Policy and External Relations, UEAPME Hiroshi TSUKAMOTO, General Manager, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation Mark PLEKO, CEO, Cosylab d.d.

  • 2 SeminarReport2012:AworkshoponthechallengesandbusinessopportunitiesforEUSMEsinJapanandhowintermediaryorganisationscanhelpSMEsseizethem


    MMaajjoorriissssuueessddiissccuusssseedd The workshop looked at a wide range of topics from why European SMEs should look to Japan in the first place, through issues they might encounter there and support programmes that are currently available, to how support strategies should be amended to improve the quality and quantity of help available to European SMEs that wish to be active in Japan.

    INTRODUCTION Marshall HSIA, Policy Officer Enterprise Europe Network, DG Enterprise & Industry (DG ENTR), European Commission European Commission support for the internationalisation of SMEs

    Mr HSIA stated that as the European Commission attaches considerable importance to the internationalisation of SMEs particularly in terms of encouraging smaller companies to take advantage of opportunities outside their home markets. Initially, the Commission focused on encouraging the internationalisation of SMEs within the internal EU market, but increasingly it also encourages them to look to third-country markets such as Japan. Their important economic role explains why the focus is on the internationalisation of SMEs the 21 million EU SMEs make up 98% of all EU enterprises, and are responsible for creating nine out of ten new jobs in the EU. They therefore play a crucial role in the EUs economic recovery. Currently, only 25% of EU SMEs export outside their home market and only 13% export to non-EU markets. There is therefore considerable scope for growth. The 2008 Small Business Act laid out the Commissions SME strategy and addressed priorities in relation to access to markets, access to finance, reducing administrative burdens and encouraging entrepreneurship. With regard to market access, the Commission is involved in a number of actions in this regard: establishing business centres in China, India and Thailand; conducting bilateral SME dialogues; and participating in multilateral dialogues (e.g. within the EUROMED region). The 2011 Small Business, Big World Communication provided to raise the visibility of existing programmes, avoid the duplication of support and seek sustainable and cost-effective support. A mapping exercise will identify and document support measures (to be completed by the end of the year with policy recommendations to follow). The results will be fed into an international business portal which will provide a single entry point for information on international SME support programmes. The Commission is working to ensure that SMEs are kept at the heart of EU policy-making and that they are provided with the best possible conditions to expand their businesses both within the EU and in international markets.


  • 3SeminarReport2012: AworkshoponthechallengesandbusinessopportunitiesforEUSMEsinJapanandhowintermediaryorganisationscanhelpSMEsseizethem

    PART ONE: OPPORTUNITIES IN JAPAN FOR EUROPEAN SMEs Hiroshi TSUKAMOTO, General Manager, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation Advantages of Doing Business in Japan

    Mr TSUKAMOTO began his presentation noting that the Japanese Government provides similar assistance to help Japanese SMEs in their overseas activities (collecting and providing information, giving marketing help, providing HR support and facilitating access to financing). JETRO is the main Japanese organisation that provides help to foreign firms planning to start activities in Japan foreign firms should first approach their local JETRO office to discuss their needs, once in Japan they may be able to use one of the six Invest Japan Business Support Centres (IBSCs) and benefit from consultations (on marketing, tax and other issues) or use its facilities (get office space rent-free for up to 2 months and access to advisors in various fields). Since its 2003 creation, more than 10,000 firms have used this service (including 320 from Europe almost all of them were SMEs).

    Although foreign firms may look to other Asian countries, Japan is an attractive country as it can be both a good place to export to and invest in. Japanese consumers are sophisticated, have a high purchasing power and they appreciate innovation. Japans surface area may only be 110 that of China, but it has a similar-sized economy and the Tokyo regions GDP is similar to that of Italy. A survey of Japanese attitudes shows that European products are seen as being the smartest / most fashionable and being unique and the clearest (when compared with Japanese, US, Korean and Chinese products). Provided a product has these characteristics, it should succeed in Japan. European companies enjoy good sales in Japan and are the biggest foreign direct investors in Japan. Success stories range from chocolates, through furniture, to advertising on bus-stop shelters. An example of a recent SME entrant is Maison Dandoy that opened its first overseas outlet in Tokyo in August. It sells a unique and characteristic product.

    Attractive and growing sectors that offer opportunities for large companies and for SMEs alike include: - Future energy systems Japans environment business market is expected to grow by more than 40%

    between 2005 and 2015 and there will be considerable business opportunities (e.g. the PV and wind sectors have seen rapid growth and various European firms are already active in Japan);

    - Healthcare Japans ageing population wants to remain active. Healthy ageing has created a big business opportunity for the healthcare industry (e.g. for medication for age-related conditions);

    - Automotive components the Japanese component market is open already a considerable number of European and other companies supply parts;

    - Retail Japans retail sector is growing. Many European brand