Job offers for 2022 university graduates improve as COVID-19 fears subside in Japan

Job offers to students set to graduate from universities and graduate schools in Japan next March marked a significant improvement from a year earlier as concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic subsided, according to a recent survey.

Such offers dropped 1.0% to an estimated 676,400, compared to the 15.1% tumble in 2021 when firms grew cautious about hiring new graduates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Recruit Works Institute said.

Hiroyuki Motegi, an analyst at the Tokyo-based research institute, pointed out companies are increasingly willing to hire new graduates, saying they “are prepared to some degree to cope with the third state of emergency” the government declared over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Going forward, job offers are expected to remain flat or show a gradual recovery,” Motegi said.

The academic and business year begins in April for most educational institutions and corporations in Japan.

For students graduating next March, the ratio of job offers to an applicant eased 0.03 point to 1.50, according to the survey.

By size, job offers fell 6.0% at companies with 300 to 1,000 employees, and the offers were down 0.2% at companies with less than 300 workers.

The number of offers, however, rebounded at companies with more than 1,000 employees.

The number of students applying for firms that employ 5,000 people or more stood at 109,300, up 51.0%, which is a sign that students attach importance to large companies seen as more stable.

The number of those applying for firms with less than 1,000 employees showed a decline.

The survey drew responses from 1,674 job-seeking university and graduate students and 4,459 companies with five or more employees in a three-month period through March.


Japan’s exports reveal largest monthly gain since late 2017

Japan’s exports posted their strongest growth in more than three years in March, led by a surge in China-bound shipments, in a sign the economy continued to recover from last year’s deep coronavirus slump.

Even though the world’s third – largest economy has made headway upon recovery after the enormous global hit of Covid-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020. Trade data suggests Japan’s economy is unlikely to completely ease concerns about the fragile recovery that is currently being made.

“The rebound in exports slowed significantly across Q1 and external demand is unlikely to provide much of a tailwind to growth this year,” said Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics.

“The impressive annual figure was down to base effects from the weakness in exports in March 2020.”

Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday exports surged 16.1% in March from a year earlier, marking the steepest rise since a 16.2% gain in November 2017.

That was better than an 11.6% jump expected by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed a 4.5% contraction in February.

Looking at regions, shipments to China (one of the largest Japan’s trading partners) has soared 37.2% in the current year to March. Led by nonferrous metals and plastic materials, it has seen their biggest gain since January. This boosted stronger Japan’s exports of semiconductor machinery.

Exports to world’s top economy, the United States, rose by 4.9% due to the current strong demand for cars and construction machinery such as offset lower shipments of aircrafts and bulldozers.

Furthermore, Export shipments to Asia has gained 22.4%, while those in the EU increased 12.8% in March.

Imports rose 5.7% in March compared with the same month a year earlier, versus the median estimate for a 4.7% increase, bringing a trade surplus of 663.7 billion yen ($6.11 billion) versus the median estimate for a 490.0 billion yen surplus.

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Japanese business and big manufacturers’ sentiment rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2021 despite a renewed Covid-19 state of emergency, companies stepped up capital spending plans, suggesting Asia’s largest advanced economy will stage a quick recovery from the pandemic.

The bank of Japan’s Tankan Index for large manufacturers rose 15 points to a reading of plus 5, well ahead of analyst expectations that it would remain in negative territory at minus 2.

“The results underline the Bank of Japan’s view the economy continues to recover moderately,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

The data offers some relief for policymakers striving to revitalize the pandemic-hit economy as the fourth wave of infections raises uncertainty about the outlook.

However, the optimistic sentiment at Japan’s industrial companies suggested that the global vaccine rollout, robust growth in China, and the prospect of a large US stimulus were improving the business environment for exporters.

“It turns out that renewed state of emergency curbs have had limited impact on business sentiment thanks to solid exports and goods demand,” said Yoshiki Shinke.

Backed by prospects of recovery, big firms expect to boost capital expenditure by 3.0% in the year that began in April, more than market forecasts for a 1.4% gain. That would follow a 3.8% cut in spending plans for the year that ended in March.

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Let COVUE’s regulatory experts help you to speed up the market entry process so can that you can focus on your business. We’re here to help! It’s what we do best.

At COVUE IOR, we seek to make the import process simple, compliant, and accessible to all sellers of all sizes. COVUE is not an ACP. COVUE is the direct IOR: we own our license, and our compliance support is in-house. We trusted by 000’s of Sellers and Shipping providers.



Solar power has always been in the eye of the global economic market. More and more businesses understand that the more sustainable the business practices are, the bigger the response from the customers is.

In Japan solar power is being used more and more on farmland across Japan not only to grow crops but also with the purpose to generate power. It allows for farming to create a two-part source of income and efficient use of farmland.

Furthermore, the increase of solar power use on Japan’s farmlands helps the Japanese government’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Of course, this sustainable generating of power doesn’t come without its issues.

At the Farmdo Group in Gunma prefecture, solar panels installed on top of greenhouses have been generating electricity since 2014, while mizuna potherb mustard, arugula, and lettuce grow inside. Covering an area of 48 hectares, producing power to supply about 10,000 households.

Under the “feed-in tariff” system, power companies purchase electricity generated from renewable energy sources at a price determined by the government over a period of 20 years. The Farmdo Group expects to recoup its solar-related investment in seven to eight years. “The additional revenue from selling electricity helps stabilize agricultural operations, and lower the barriers to starting a farm,” a group official said. Installing solar panels to the portion of agricultural land must be converted to non-agricultural use and support equipment must be set up.

Installing solar panels to the portion of agricultural land must be converted to non-agricultural use and support equipment must be set up.

As stated by the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Ministry of Japan the total number of permits for such conversions grew from 96 in fiscal 2013 to 1,992 in fiscal 2018. Over that span, the amount of agricultural land apportioned for solar power generation increased from 19 hectares to 560 hectares.

The Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association estimates that by 2050, about 30% of land used for solar power generation will be agriculture-related.

“It is important to balance agriculture and power generation,” said Takashi Nozu, an associate professor at Waseda University. “It is also necessary to carefully consider how to increase profitability, given the initial investment and maintenance costs involved.”


SIP Global Partners $150 Million funds to bring U.S. start-ups into Japan

SIP Global Partners $150 Million fundsto bring U.S. start-ups into Japan

On March 10th of 2021, SIP Global Partners announced a new $150 million (USD) or ¥16 billion (JPY) to invest in early-stage U.S. start-ups that have the potential to expand to Japan.

Japan being centre of deliberations as a target of interest for U.S. start-up expansion. Over the last few years, it has become a top market for companies like Slack, Salesforce, Twitter with more recent addition of Clubhouse.

So far, the funds target of $150 million (¥16 billion) has acquired $75 million (¥8 billion) at a first close. It has already been used investing to five companies.

SIP Global Partners use of new fund will take a look at Series B-Stage companies that have products to offer or ones that are on the soonicorn list of new products to come to the market including those that are ready for international expansion.

The dream team will work closely with portfolio companies, creating a systematic helpline for helping them launch operations into Japan and other Asian markets.

As commented by managing partner Justin Turkat of SIP Global Partners:

“Japan is a promising market for foreign start-ups partly because an undercapitalized venture capital ecosystem means there is a smaller pool of entrepreneurs, with many of the country’s top tech talent opting to join conglomerates or the government instead.”

Japan’s start-up market even though with lots of promise and potential it is still nascent Mr. Turkat added. Although Japan is now the largest source of outward foreign direct investment in the world, and with approximately 125 million consumers and large corporations in need of scalable solutions, it’s a ready and overdue market for new tech.

“If you look at what’s happened in the last couple of years, I think Japan is open for business with U.S. start-ups with an urgency that I’ve never seen before, and we think there is a lot of tailwinds around it. You look at investments and partnerships with U.S. start-ups, it’s at record levels over the last five years and deal counts are increasing every year,” Turkat said.

Four investors based in the U.S. and Japan has supplied the fund partnering with Mr. Turkat the founder and managing partner Shigeki Saitoh alongside former director of the Japan Venture Association, general partner Jeffrey Smith and Matthew Salloway.

All four partners who invested to the launch of the fund on average have around twenty years and more of experience in observing global expansion happening early in start-ups operations, to cross border as operators and investors across the U.S. and Asia.

“I think it used to be an axiom that if you’re a U.S. start-up and you’re venture-backed, you’re not thinking of expanding overseas until your Series D round,” but companies are now eyeing foreign markets as early as their seed rounds.

SIP’s is looking at three areas to invest funds into new start-up’s:

  1. Creativity (augmented and extended reality, synthetic media and web-based platforms).
  • Productivity (artificial intelligence and machine learning, edge computing, the Internet of Things and semiconductors).
  • Safety (digital health and information security).

Furthermore, Mr. Turkat is focusing upon companies that supply core infrastructure or the economic layer for emerging technology.

For example, “on the infrastructure layer, we’re looking at 5G being rolled out globally simultaneously, then the edge computing, semiconductors, security and AI and machine learning, all around this infrastructure layer,” he said. 

Current fund’s portfolio companies that fit into the criteria are OpenRAN, Parallel Wireless and Croquet.

“Then you have the economic layer with all of these advancements, the platforms and applications sitting on top of it,” Turkat added. These other investments include Fable, Tilt Five and Kinetic.

SIP Global Partners works closely with start-up’s whose goals are to expand into new countries. After Japan, SIP also helps start-up’s enter other Asian markets, especially in ASEAN, including Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

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Top Funded Start-ups in Japan

Over 3K+ Tech star-tups, including 300+ public ones, Japan is the epicentre of the East Asian star-tup ecosystem in the new world order of the millennium. With reaching next level tech developments, the most promising unicorns, soonicorns and minicors are making significant valuative milestones. 

Japans economy is the third largest in the world.  The gross domestic product (GPD) is 5.2 trillion (USD) or 788 trillion (JPY). This is a reflection upon the dominating service sector that the Japanese economy has. 68.7% of the gross domestic product (GPD) and employing 72% of their labour force. Currently United States and China is their biggest trading partners with the newly partnered United Kingdom at its tail.

Due to the large economy Japan is still a hot spot breeding ground for start-ups due to how much potential there is to grow there. According to Venture Enterprise Centre which studies start-up domestic capital investments in 2020 annual report shows the total of 153.8 billion (JPY). Domestic making up 107.4 billion (JPY) and overseas 46.3 billion (JPY).

The stimulation the investments produce in Japan fuel the start-up scene more than ever before. 

2020 Top 10 Start-ups List


  • Preferred Infrastructure; A natural language processing as a service. Founded in 2006 Tokyo, Japan. With investors Chungai Pharmaceutical, Fanuc, Toyota Motor and 3 others.

The search engine company specialise upon strong knowledge within machine learning, natural language processing and distributed system. The company’s products include NLP based search platform. Disclosed funding 125 million (USD) or 13 billion (JPY).


  • Tier IV; Software & system providers for developing autonomous vehicles. Founded in 2006, Nagoya, Japan. Investors include Sompo Holdings, Aisan Technology, University of Tokyo, Edge Capital and 6 other investors.

Tier IV provides software and system- related solutions for developing autonomous vehicles. The company provides total solutions to developing self-driving vehicles with help of its partners. Offers 3D printed EV platforms, autonomy development kits, sensors, software and associated services. Disclosed funding 230 million (USD) or 25 billion (JPY).

  • Astroscale; Provider of solutions for space debris removal. Founded in 2013, Sumida-ku, Japan. With investors UTokyo Inovation platform, Tokyo, Mamoru Taniya and 20 other investors.

Astroscale offers proprietary satellite solutions for space debris removal. It is developing ELSA-d, an end-to-end rendezvous solution which consists of two spacecraft; Servicer (~184 kg) and Client (~16 kg), to be launched stacked together. Disclosed funding 199 million (USD) or 21 billion (JPY).

  • Freee; Accounting & ERP management software for businesses. Founded in 2012, Tokyo, Japan. Investors include DCM Ventures, Mirai Creation Fund, Nippon Life Insurance and 12 other investors.

Freee provides cloud-based ERP management and accounting software for businesses. It features solutions for bookkeeping, payroll & labour management, financial reporting, taxation, billing & expense management, and inventory management. Disclosed funding 142 million (USD) or 15 billion (JPY).

  • Ispace; Developing micro- robots that locate the resources necessary to extend human life into outer space. Founded in 2010, Tokyo, Japan. Investors include Japan Airlines, Toppan, Space Frontier and 15 Other Investors.

The company focuses on locating, extracting, and delivering lunar ice to customers in cis-lunar space. It utilizes 3D printed and commercially off the shelf products (COTS) for rapid prototyping while maximizing structural mass efficiency and shortening the developmental life cycle. Disclosed funding 125 million (USD) or 13 billion (JPY).

  • Line Man; App- based platform for booking hyperlocal delivery services. Founded in 2008, Tokyo, Japan. Investors BRV Capital Management.

Lineman is an app-based platform for booking hyperlocal delivery services. It allows users to order, track and book on-demand deliveries of food, parcels, groceries, documents, store items, as well as taxi services. Disclosed funding 110 million (USD) or 12 billion (JPY).

  • JapanTaxi; App-based on-demand taxi-hailing service. Founded 1977, Tokyo, Japan. Investors include Mirai Creation Fund, Kakao Mobility.

JapanTaxi is an app-based on-demand ride-hailing service in Japan that connects passengers with taxi drivers around their location. Users need to set their pickup location and specify the type of vehicle they need, after which the platform connects them to a nearby available driver. Disclosed funding 87 million (USD) or 9 billion (JPY).

  • Kyash; Payment cards solution provider. Founded in 2015, Tokyo, Japan. With investors consisting of Greenspring Associates, Toppan, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and 15 Other Investors.

Kyash provides virtual and prepaid cards for consumers. It offers Kyash Visa Card for making payments through mobile phones. It features notification for payment transactions and payment history. Disclosed funding 73 million (USD) or 7 billion (JPY).

  • Dicalet; Platform for cryptocurrency exchange and payments. Founded in 2018, Chiyoda-ku, Japan. Investors are Matsui Securities, KDDI and 9 Other Investors.

Dicalet provides a mobile application for users to make cryptocurrency exchange and payments. It offers fiat currency deposit, cryptocurrency exchange & trading, virtual currency money transfer. Disclosed funding, 57 million (USD) or 6 billion (JPY). 

  • GROOVE X; Develops social robot for consumers. Founded in 2015, Tokyo, Japan. Investors are AmTRAN, Shenzhen Capital Group, SMBC Venture Capital and 6 Other investors.

Groove-X has developed a social robot called LOVOT for consumers. Features include answering machine, baby monitoring, house patrolling and more. The robot has approximately 50 sensors on its body including a 360-degree camera, thermal vision, microphone, depth camera, distance & obstacle sensors and, retractable wheels for movement. Disclosed funding 51 million (USD) or 5 billion (JPY).


Covid-19 Economic Update in Japan

Current Covid-19 situation in Japan

As of 28th of February 2021, provided by Worlds Health Organization (WHO). Currently, there are globally 2.6 Million reported new cases. Compared to previous weeks it shows a 7% increase. According to WHO Japan has a current rate of 0.01-10.00 cases reported in the last 7 days per 100,000 of population people.

Current State of Tourism: Borders are closed until at least the 7th of March as per Japanese government implications.

Some parts of the country are still under-declaration state of emergency (Lockdown). Currently, those prefectures consist of greater Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa. They are set to stay under lockdown until the 21st of March 2021.

Areas currently that are subject to entry ban in Japan are:

  AsiaBangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines.
 North America Canada, United States of America.
  Latin America and the Caribbean Argentine, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela. 
    Europe Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Vatican. 
  Middle East Afghanistan, Bahrain, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates.
   Africa Algeria, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central Africa, Comoros, Cote d’lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 

Travel Restrictions

Covid- 19 has had a substantial impact on the travel and trade industries. WHO created a list of priorities for a gradual return to travel. Those were a combination of risk assessments and risk communications to determine those risk priorities, which were then distributed to every running government of the world under the suggestion of an action plan to get the economy back and running.

One of the top priorities:

  • During the pandemic, international travel is prioritized on emergencies, humanitarian actions, travel essential personnel, cargo transportation for essential supplies…such as food, medication, and fuel.
  • All the nations mentioned in the list have to undergo PCR tests 14 days prior to their application for landing in Japan. Following a 14-day quarantine in a designated place chosen by your quarantine station chief.

Japans Tax diet

13th of April 2020, the NTA has corrected the administrative direction for organization tax to provide the specific actions in exchanges between business entities—for example, the forgiveness of trade receivables or the arrangement of low-interest loans—when there are financial challenges identified relating to the pandemic, shouldn’t be treated as donations or entertainment expenses.

In addition, for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a tax reduction (in terms of special depreciation or tax credits) has been introduced for capital investment in teleworking.

30th of April 2020, the National Diet passed additional tax relief measures which, among others, provide for a reduction in the taxable basis for property tax purposes of depreciable assets and houses for businesses owned by SMEs to one half or zero for 2021.

Import and Export Restrictions

Due to the severe impact Covid- 19 has made on the whole world, Japan is one of many to downplay a lot of customs to allow the import of goods even with travel restrictions in place.

Japan has reduced tariffs on their imported goods. They may be exempted from customs duty and (domestic) consumption tax if they are proved to be donated free of charge.

Furthermore, extension of time limits for customs procedures, including those for payment of customs duties in certain cases, due to the COVID-19 pandemic a refund, reduction, or exemption of certain customs fees will be provided.

Deregulatory Measures in Import and Export Procedures as a Response to the COVID-19

The import declaration of relief goods relating to countermeasures to the COVID-19 is a simplified declaration form for the customs procedure and the submission of certificate for duty exemption for donated goods, etc… Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry (METI) has released a summarization of trade control-related notifications as well as restrictions.

  • Customs clearance has been prioritized for relief goods relating to countermeasures to the COVID-19 and for goods that require an urgent clearance to maintain the lifeline.


Policy Changes to the Tech Markets in Japan

Japanese policymakers should hold open the choice of toughening rules on technology titans if an e-commerce law delivered this month does not go as planned. Commented by a lawmaker observing the party’s debate on competition policy.

On the 1st of February Japan joined the global trend upon the increase of investigations into the plausible antitrust exertion by the large tech giants. The legislation requiring disclosure of information such as terms of contracts with business partners, how search rankings operate, and reasons for suspending or refusing vendors.

Global e-commerce is clouded with social media firms concerning the tech market dominance. Europe and Australia are currently confronting the issue in which allows leeway in how much information companies must submit.

“If this joint regulatory approach isn’t sufficient, we have to make rules gong step further” Tatsya Ito, a ruling liberal demographic party lawmaker commented.

Japan’s e-commerce market was worth 19 trillion yen ($180 billion) in 2019. Its app store market reached $20.2 billion in 2020. Amazon Inc. and Rakuten Inc. were the largest e-commerce operations in 2018 report to the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) explains.

Under the new law operations of shopping and app sites with a minimum of 200-300 Billion yen must show annual reports to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Amazon now requires Pesticide Marking Attribute for Pesticides and Pesticide Materials

Amazon announced that starting October 6, 2020, pesticides and pesticide devices will now require the Pesticide Marking with evidence of an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Registration number or certification showing that the products are exempted from EPA Regulations.

Pesticidal Claims

You may not be aware you are selling products the EPA considers pesticides or pesticide devices, as it can be hard to identify which products qualify and why. The EPA classifies as pesticides or pesticide devices most products that are marketed to disinfect, repel insects, remove allergens, or prevent bacteria, or that make any other antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, or another pesticidal claim. If any of your products have been identified as a pesticide or pesticide device you will have received an email from us with a list of ASINs.

As a reminder, per Amazon policy, all pesticides and pesticide devices must comply with EPA regulations and all applicable state and local laws, including registration and labeling requirements. Amazon also requires you to provide accurate information about your products on the detail page.

For more information, see Amazon’s Pesticides and Pesticide Devices policy 22.

You can also bookmark this article for future reference. (references:

In Japan Regulatory, when you are importing Pesticides and pesticide devices, products must be MHLW Approved. There are some regulations that you need to apply in order to import pesticide products aside from having Pesticide marking on Amazon. COVUE can help you comply with the necessary applications that required in importing your pesticides and pesticide devices.

COVID-19 Update: Importing Restrictions on Masks and Disinfectants

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the demand of masks and disinfectants keep on increasing. The Japan Customs have been taking a more flexible approach to customs clearance, etc., on imports and exports of masks, disinfectants, etc.

What import restrictions in Japan exist on masks and disinfectants?

Importing masks fabric cotton

When importing disposable, general-use non-woven artificial fiber hygienic masks or such masks classified under the import tariff code of 6307.90-029, products will not require any regulation or import restriction if you are not declaring your items as medical device or equipment. You’ll just need to have an IOR when importing these products. Learn more about our IOR Services here

Importing masks for health, protection

– such masks like N95, surgical masks will fall under Medical Device Class 1 and must undergo MHLW Approval. Based on their function, etc., such masks could fall under the definition of a medical equipment under the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare’s “Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Products Including Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices” and as such be restricted for import. Any enterprise, etc., considering imports should check with its prefectural pharmaceutical distribution bureau in advance.

For disinfectants
Disinfectants are determined to be used for human body therefore will fall under medical goods and devices.

Disinfectants will require MHLW application in order to import to Japan.