Japan - Country Commercial Guide
Last published date: 2022-11-28

Please see the narrative concerning eCommerce in the CCG section “Leading Sectors for U.S. Exports and Investment.” 

For tips on how to use eCommerce in exporting and international business strategy, please visit the eCommerce Innovation Lab (EIL). 

Spending Holidays 

Japan’s biggest spending holiday is New Year.  Japanese clean up house and buy new clothing for New Year.  Also, Japan consistently has higher online spending in the summer months when Japanese firms are known to give yearly summer bonuses. Average worker bonuses are nearly $3,000 and the spending of that bonus is primarily focused on luxury goods, leisure, and travel. Additional spending holidays include White Day (March 14) and Christmas. 

Local eCommerce Sales Rules & Regulations 

Various GOJ agencies, including METI and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC), regulate eCommerce in Japan. Consumer and personal information/data protection laws apply to the online marketplace.  Also, all online retailers must follow the Specified Commercial Transactions Law regulated by the Consumer Affairs Agency 

In May 2020, Japan’s Diet passed a new law, the Act on Improvement of Transparency and Fairness in Trading on Specified Digital Platforms, that will require e-Commerce platforms to submit an annual report to METI on their business practices. METI will subsequently solicit comments from merchants, conduct reviews and publish the results. U.S. firms Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, as well as Japanese firms Rakuten and Yahoo-Japan, are among those affected. See Cabinet Office summary

The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), which will assess antitrust issues in B2C e-commerce, conducted and - in 2019 - released an online trade practices survey, which included a perspective on manufacturers, distributors, retailers, online shopping malls, and other players. See results of the survey (https://www.jftc.go.jp/en/pressreleases/yearly-2019/April/190409_1.html). 

Local E-Commerce Business Service Provider Ecosystem 

Companies using eCommerce channels to reach the Japanese consumers or businesses must consider: 

  • eCommerce platforms 

  • Payment methods 

  • Shipping logistics 

Customer service, returns, after-sales service 

Companies looking to enter the market should be able to advertise, brand, and provide customer support in Japanese.  

eCommerce Platforms in Japan 

eCommerce Platforms in Japan  

  • Amazon  Japan  

  • Apple  

  • Rakuten  

  • Yahoo! Japan Shopping  

Department Stores and Retail Outlets  

  • Daimaru  

  • Mitsukoshi Isetan  

  • Seibu Sogo  

  • Takashimaya  

Apparel eCommerce Websites  

  • ZOZOTOWN (http://zozo.jp/)  

Supermarket eCommerce Sites  

  • Ito Yokado   

  • Maruetsu 

Books and Media eCommerce Sites  

  • Book-Off  

  • Kinokuniya  

  • Tsutaya