Japan - Country Commercial Guide
Industrial Machine Tools

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-11-09


Units: USD millions 





2022 estimated 

Total Local Production 





Total Exports 





Total Imports 





Imports from the US 





Total Market Size 





Exchange Rates 




Market size = local production + imports - exports 
Source: Japan Machine Tools Builders Association (“JMTBA”); Japan Machine Tools Importers Association (“JMTIA”); Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade (“METI”); and Ministry of Finance (“MOF”)  

In Japan’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget for April 2022 – March 2023, the Government of Japan (“GOJ”) allocated USD $1.62 billion to support Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”).  Specifically, the GOJ will assist businesses in upgrading their manufacturing plant equipment, developing digital transaction infrastructure, developing new sales channels, and hiring specialists to assist with business succession matters.  These GOJ budget expenditure initiatives offer new opportunities for U.S. advanced manufacturing companies to supply larger quantities of advanced machine tools to Japanese companies that receive GOJ payments to upgrade their manufacturing facilities.  

Japanese manufacturing companies have spent approximately USD $890 million on digital infrastructure projects.  By 2030, these Japanese manufacturing companies are projected to have spent a total of USD $4.1 billion on digital infrastructure enhancements.  For the past decade, value-added manufacturing in Japan has accounted for more than 20 percent of Japan’s GDP.  Japan’s capital investments to upgrade manufacturing facilities and, specifically, industrial machine tools by incorporating advanced manufacturing technologies have grown steadily and will likely continue to grow steadily.  

While Japan’s industrial machinery market is expected to continue to grow, Japanese machinery manufacturers are approaching production capacity.  In addition, only 51% of Japanese companies collect data on their manufacturing lines to maximize efficiency of their manufacturing processes.  This situation presents an opportunity for U.S. suppliers in certain Japanese market niches such as robotics and laser technology. 

Japan is home to some of the world’s leading manufacturers.  According to the most recent 2019 data available concerning industrial robotics use rates, after China Japan has the second highest number of existing industrial robots in operation – about 355,000 units or one robot for every 190 workers.  By comparison, the United States has a smaller industrial robot market with about 300,000 units or one robot for every 490 workers.   

Furthermore, Japan is experiencing an urgent need for advanced manufacturing technologies – namely, automation, robotics, and industry 4.0 and related solutions – to address acute workforce shortages.  According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”), Japan has the world’s oldest population.  In addition, Japan’s population has declined by more than two million people in the past 10 years.  By 2065, the country’s total workforce is expected to decrease by 40 percent.   

Advanced manufacturing technologies may address some of Japan’s declining workforce issues by increasing productivity at manufacturing sites, consuming less energy, and contributing to fewer facility product defects.  In addition, advanced manufacturing technologies also allow for the implementation of clean technologies that can help with the GOJ’s priority of achieving carbon neutrality.  

To maximize success in the Japanese market, U.S. advanced manufacturing firms should carefully consider partnering with local agents or distributors with deep industry knowledge and sales networks to market the U.S. firms’ products to end-users in Japan.  Alternatively, U.S. firms may consider establishing their own representative offices in Japan in order to have their own in-country company representatives.  

Leading Sub-Sectors 

  • Machine Tools, specifically Machines Operated by Laser 

  • Advanced Manufacturing, specifically Machinery Involving Automation, Industrial Robots 


As discussed earlier, U.S. industrial machine tool firms should carefully consider opportunities in Japan – especially those concerning machine processes and technology upgrades, robotics, and laser technologies.  Japan’s manufacturing sector is expected to experience a steady growth rate following private sector and government programs to upgrade Japan’s manufacturing infrastructure.  Japanese manufacturing companies have initiated several projects to bring back to Japan offshored manufacturing in order to avoid supply chain disruptions like those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Japan’s initiatives to return offshored manufacturing capacity provides opportunities for U.S. exporters of industrial equipment and machines.  After Japanese companies set up manufacturing lines with new equipment and machines, the companies will use such machines for several years.  In addition to Japanese companies initially purchasing large numbers of machines and related equipment, the Japanese companies will also likely purchase accessory equipment and upgrades to certain equipment or the equipment’s components.  

Timing is critical for Japan’s industrial machine tool sector.  Japanese businesses prefer unique products that competitors cannot generally offer, regardless of whether large companies or SMEs manufacture the particular machine or equipment.  As long as U.S. SMEs identify appropriate Japanese distributors or agents that can provide local post-sale, follow-up services, Japan’s growing manufacturing opportunities will be equally available for both large U.S. companies as well as U.S. SMEs.  


Upcoming Japan Equipment and Machinery Events 

November 8-13, 2022, at Tokyo Big Sight 

JIMTOF is a biannual trade show.  Over 1,000 exhibitors and 153,000 machinery business professionals attended JIMTOF 2018, while about 400 exhibitors and 52,000 professionals participated online for JIMTOF 2020.  

January 25-27, 2023, at Tokyo Big Sight  

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1,000 exhibitors and 32,000 machinery business professionals participated in Factory Innovation Week 2022. 

Commercial Service Japan  

For additional information about Japan’s equipment and machinery business sector, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service at Office.Tokyo@trade.gov or Mr. Yu Ohashi at Yu.Ohashi@trade.gov