Japan - Country Commercial Guide
Industrial Machine Tools
Last published date:


Units: USD millions 

Table: Market Size for Industrial Machine Tools
 2020  2021 20222023 (Estimated)
Total Local Production 6,781 8,159 8,2068,248 
Total Exports 4,960 6,493 6,5206,546 
Total Imports 3,893 3,528 4,4045,505 
Imports from the US 1,359 1,331 1,4711,625 
Total Market Size 5,714 5,194 6,0907,207
Exchange Rates 106.77 109.75 131.46

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”)  

Japan is home to some of the world’s leading manufacturers and robotics companies. As of 2022, 45 percent of all industrial robots in the world were produced or designed by companies in Japan. Orders for industrial robots from Japanese manufacturers hit a record $7.35 billion in 2022, up 1.6 percent from the previous year. Production increased by 5.6 percent. The shift toward adopting automation for packaging and transport has been growing in fields such as logistics, food, and pharmaceuticals. Japan had 631 robots working in the manufacturing sector for every 10,000 humans in 2021. By comparison, the U.S. had 274 robots for every 10,000 humans.

Japan’s acute workforce shortages can help explain this focus on advanced manufacturing technologies, such as automation, robotics, Industry 4.0, and related solutions.  According to the OECD, Japan has the world’s oldest population, which has declined by more than 2.7 million in the past 10 years. By 2065, the country’s workforce is expected to decrease by 40 percent. Advanced manufacturing technologies can increase productivity, consume less energy, and lead to fewer product defects, thus address workforce shortage challenges and help the government achieve its carbon neutrality goals, as well.

For the past decade, manufacturing in Japan has accounted for more than 20 percent of Japan’s GDP. In addition, capital investments to upgrade manufacturing facilities, including incorporating advanced manufacturing technologies, have grown steadily. A recent poll indicated that 65 percent of Japanese manufacturing companies surveyed were interested in upgrading their production technology and their manufacturing process management abilities.  Digital infrastructure is one area of growth in this respect: Japanese manufacturing companies are estimated to spend $4.1 billion on digital infrastructure by 2030, up from below $1 billion currently.

In addition, as part of its fiscal year 2023 (April 2023 – March 2024) spending budget, the Japanese government has allocated $39.3 billion to support Japanese supply chain resiliency.  Japanese manufacturing companies will be eligible to apply for government subsidies to upgrade equipment to make certain critical products, including those that are related to semiconductors, electric vehicles (EVs), and potential future pandemic medical needs.

Trends in the advanced manufacturing sector, including the Japanese government’s increased spending on upgrades for production facilities of critical products, offer new opportunities for U.S. solutions providers. To maximize success in the Japanese market, U.S. firms should partner with local agents or distributors with deep industry knowledge and sales networks to market their products to end-users in Japan. It is also important for U.S. companies to establish their own Japan office if possible and to have local representatives on the ground.

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 services, Japan’s growing manufacturing opportunities will be equally available for both large U.S. companies as well as U.S. SMEs.  


Factory Innovation Week 2024

Dates:  January 24-26, 2024

Venue: Tokyo Big Sight

Description: Factory Innovation Week is co-located with other shows such as Nepcon Japan, Smart Logistics Japan. Over 1,400 exhibitors and 74,000 industry professionals participated in Factory Innovation Week 2023.

IIFES 2024
Dates: January 31 – February 2, 2024
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight

Description: IIFES is a biannual trade show for automation and measurement system. U.S. Commercial Service has been a partner of this trade show for over 8 years and has been arranging speaking opportunities and booth space for U.S. companies. About 150 exhibitors and 11,000 participants attended this in-person event in 2022 despite Japan’s being was under quasi state of emergency at that time.  

Japan International Machine Tool Fair (JIMTOF) 2024
Dates: November 5-10, 2024
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight

Description:  JIMTOF is a biannual trade show. Almost 1,100 exhibitors and 141,900 manufacturing and machinery business professionals attended JIMTOF 2022 and is one of the largest industrial machinery shows in Japan. The show was originally an industrial machine show but now in keeping with new technology, includes software, additive manufacturing, and other emerging technology products areas.

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