Digital White Paper – Message from the EBC

Digital White Paper – Message from the EBC

Message from the EBC


Welcome to the 2023 EBC report on the Japanese regulatory environment, aka the White Paper. This is the second year since going completely digital. We are hoping that this has made it easier for you, the reader, to find a more up to date information and what you are looking for.

For much of the past couple of years, the efforts of the EBC have been focusing on the border restrictions in Japan. We have gone from a complete entry ban on non-Japanese citizens, affecting even residents in Japan, to problems of getting top management and specialists enter the country to now, where we are back to the pre-COVID situation, i.e. the period before March 2020.

We hope that companies and investments in Japan impacted by the COVID period will return to pre-crisis levels. And while we do not want to look back too much, we believe that Japan must keep the market as open and competitive as possible.

So, what new will we have for you in our 2023 report?

You will, for the first time, see a chapter on sustainability and social responsibility. This is an important area to us, especially since this is a field where European companies are very advanced. Furthermore, we believe that by implementing our recommendations we will see further improvements in Japan.

The EBC continues to work on better market access for our railway-related companies. While we have seen the removal of the so-called operation safety clause, much work remains to see better recognition of European standards and approvals.

With the geo-political landscape taking a turn for the worse, the defence and security segment will be crucial to deal with the challenges. The EBC believes that Europe should be a partner to Japan, both on the governmental and industrial levels. We, therefore, advocate for closer industrial cooperation. This will be beneficial not only for Japan as a country, but also for Japanese industry which, through technological collaboration, will become stronger on the international market.

Another issue to mention is non-alcoholic beer. This is a segment of the beverage market that has seen an increase, and all points to that this will continue. Unfortunately, due to Japanese pasteurisation standards, European craft beers cannot be imported without radically changing or even ruining the flavour of the beverage.

On the other hand, issues such as personal use in the IPR sphere and the amendment of the requirement for “experience” regarding registration of foreign lawyers in Japan have been improved. These two issues have been long-standing issues for the EBC, and we are pleased to note these improvements.

A sector that continues to play an important role is the offshore wind sector. European companies offer both experience and expertise that do not exist on the Japanese market. After some teething troubles, we have seen improvements on the public procurement market, but there are still some ways to go. The same can be said for the recognition of international standards and assessment schemes, as well as the treatment of foreign vessels. The EBC believes that the recommendations in the White Paper are of upmost importance to reach the goal of the carbon neutral society by 2050.

The EBC work is made possible by the continuing support of its stakeholders, especially the European national Chambers of Commerce, their corporate members that join the EBC and other business organisations represented in Japan. Together with the Delegation of the European Union to Japan and the European national embassies in Tokyo, who keep offering their unique insights and guidance, we all work towards making European business more successful in Japan. We are grateful to the EU Delegation that brings up issues with the Japanese authorities that are stopping the trade relation between the EU and Japan to reach its full potential.

We also gratefully acknowledge all sponsors and supporters who have made this publication possible. Their names are listed at the end of the Report.

The EBC is committed to helping Europe and Japan reach new levels of mutual trade and economic growth. We approach these challenging times with unwavering optimism as Europe and Japan share the same values and continue to strengthen their relationship.


Michael Mroczek
President, European Business Council in Japan
European (EU) Chamber of Commerce in Japan
(Partner, Nozomi Sogo Attorneys at Law)

Valerie Moschetti
Chief Operating Officer
European Business Council in Japan
European (EU) Chamber of Commerce in Japan