Japan - Commercial Guide

Discusses opportunities for U.S. franchisers and legal requirements in the market.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

U.S. franchising has heavily influenced the development of Japan’s franchise industry since the early 1970s. Although Japanese consumers are generally receptive to U.S. franchise concepts, products and services generally must be adjusted to local tastes and expectations in Japan to ensure success. U.S. franchising businesses have several ways to enter the Japanese market, such as entering into an agreement with a master franchisee, establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary as a master franchisee with a flagship store or stores, or seeking a joint venture partner to develop the market in Japan. 

Identifying the right business partner in Japan requires time and effort, and it can be difficult to find companies that are willing to invest in master franchise rights or to invest in business concepts that do not have a clear market or strong growth potential in Japan. Therefore, thorough market research and a long-term commitment are necessary for U.S. companies that are considering launching a franchise-based business in Japan.