Aging population in Japan creates demand for advanced medical devices

The Japanese market for medical devices and materials are among the world’s largest, and is expected to keep growing due to the country’s aging population. This challenge increases the demand for advanced medical technologies. The market is heavily dependent on imports for sophisticated technologies.

Photo: Kristin Irene Kristensen

Photo: Kristin Irene Kristensen

Japan is facing an aging population, already noticing its effect

There are an increasing number of patients with chronic and life-style diseases, resulting in a steady grow in demand for medical devices that alleviate pain, complement lost functions, and improve quality of life. The market for in-home care devices, technologies, and health IT related products are also expected to grow, as the number of people in out-patient care increases. The fast-aging Japanese society is relatively prosperous, holding increasing expectations for improved quality of life in their later years. The Japanese health care system also places increasing emphasis on improved treatment and health maintenance, creating further opportunities for new and innovative solutions. In fact, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)’s report projected that Japan’s regenerative medicine market would grow in 2020 to 95.4 billion yen and to 10.31 trillion yen in 2030, a trend worth noticing.

Market opportunities for health IT

According to a study by the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Japan has the third highest GDP level globally, as well as a large health IT market size and a tech-friendly society, indicating that there are potential for more growth in the health IT market.

New and innovative solutions

Japan do also produce medical devices by themselves. The major competing product categories include; diagnostic imaging equipment, therapeutic and surgical equipment, biophenomena measuring and monitoring systems, home therapeutic equipment, dialyzers, and endoscopes. If you produce products in other categories than before mentioned, Japan might be the market for you.

As for entering into the Japanese market, there are no customs duties on medical devices in Japan, but medical devices are however heavily regulated. Companies intending to break into the Japanese market will need to find a good Japanese distributor.


If you want to discuss your products with us or ask for more information, please contact:

Hiroko Tominaga
Market adviser, Innovation Norway Tokyo

She has long experience with assisting Norwegian medical device companies identifying and coordinating business opportunities.

Author: Kristin Irene Kristensen


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