The medical device industry is expected to be one of Japan’s few growth industries. That was proved at the recent MEDTEC Japan, where more than 7300 attendees were avidly sourcing opportunities in this promising market, writes Miki Anzai, Associate Editor of Japan Medical Design & Manufacturing Technology.
Held in Yokohama on 29 and 30 June, MEDTEC Japan registered a 25% increase in the number of exhibitors, who numbered 275, compared with last year.
The high turnout showed that domestic and foreign companies alike are steadfast in their belief that the Japanese medtech market has the potential to grow, even after the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeastern part of the country in March. Some attendees were frankly astonished by this vote of confidence.
“I was surprised to see so many companies trying to expand their business in the medtech industry under such circumstances,” says Masayuki Ohara, a manager of the Medical Health Service Group (MHS) of TÜV SÜD Japan. A speaker at the accompanying conference, Ohara presented a session on coping with regulatory hurdles when entering the market. “It reconfirmed that the medtech industry is one of the few promising fields where we can expect growth.”
Medical and healthcare-related industries, in fact, are key prospects for growth in Japan. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the median age in Japan will rise to 50 by 2024, 12 years older than in the United States, and heads of household aged 65 and older will represent 29% of the population by 2024.
To move towards a more demand-led growth strategy, the Japanese government established a strategic council in January to promote medical innovation, a key policy goal under the nation’s new growth strategy. The government is also making efforts to improve the regulatory system to encourage exports and secure a more stable supply of medical devices.
“The situation has become extremely favourable for the medical device industry,” says Kio Nakamura, Assistant Marketing Manager at Sensirion Japan Co., whose humidity sensors, liquid flow sensors and differential pressure sensors were popular items among show visitors. “We’ve just started to promote our products to the medtech industry in Japan, and the show was a wonderful opportunity for us to cultivate prospective clients.”
To accommodate surging exhibitor interest, MEDTEC Japan will offer more exhibition space next year. The show, which is scheduled for 18 and 19 April 2012, will have three additional floors. The show is produced by UBM Canon, which also maintains this blog.
Japan’s medical technology market, which is valued at approximately US$34 billion, represents roughly 11% of the global market. It is the third largest medical device market in the world after the United States and the European Union. During the past 25 years, the size of Japan’s medtech market has doubled. While the market share of domestically made devices has been largely flat, imports have soared, creating a medical device trade deficit of US$7 billion.Miki Anzai