Exporting U.S. Goods to Japan

This letter is written in the hope that I may enlighten some of the business concerns that may wish to export their products to Japan. I am the president of a company exporting U.S.-made goods to Japan.

In light of the recent publicity for the need in raising export levels to Japan, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) held a “Made in U.S.A. Fair” on March 11-14, 1985, in Nagoya, Japan, to encourage manufacturers to bring their wares to the fair. Unfortunately, those currently exporting to Japan were in the majority.

The people of Japan are very anxious to buy goods made in the United States. However, American-made goods are made for American use and have not been converted to fit the Japanese consumer. For example, voltage in Japan is 100. In America, it is 110 or 220, and therefore, electrical goods shipped to Japan in this state must be converted, causing additional expense.

Also, like the European countries, the steering wheel of cars is on the right side, instead of the left. Yet, the cars shipped to Japan have the standard left steering wheel made for America. The companies in Japan see to it that cars that are shipped to other countries have been converted for use in that country; i.e., left side for America.


As for clothing, most of the Japanese population are physically very small and therefore clothing should be in very small sizes, such as those made for the pre-teens, teens, petites, etc., only in adult fashion. This also would apply to shoes.

Only when U.S. goods are adapted to the Japanese market will trade improve. For further information on exporting to Japan, any of the Japan Trade Centers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston will be able to assist you.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express myself, which I feel is also the opinion of many of the exporters. We are limited in what we are able to export to Japan, even though there is much interest in the American-made product.