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Japan Dietary Supplements Market Update

Japan is an attractive market for U.S. dietary supplements makers, but exporters must effectively navigate the country’s complex health claim labeling system.

Japan is the world’s third-largest dietary supplements market, valued at USD9.4 billion (JPY1 trillion). A rapidly aging population and a rise in health consciousness amongst Japanese consumers should boost the sector’s further growth. Dietary supplements and health foods that help prevent or reduce risks of lifestyle-related diseases are gaining popularity, while those that target anti-aging, weight loss, and beauty care also have good potential.

In Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) oversees the dietary supplements safety and import regulations. The Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) administrates rules covering claims for foods including dietary supplements.

Japan’s health claims system for foods, including dietary supplements, is complex.  Food products classified in the following three categories are permitted to make function claims on their labels:

  • Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU): These are foods officially approved to claim their physiological effects on the human body.
  • Foods with Nutrient Function Claims (FNFC): These are foods that are labeled with the functions of 20 nutritional ingredients (e.g., vitamins, minerals and fatty acid).

Most FNFC products are dietary supplements; however, many FOSHU products are conventional foods such as tea, juice, soy milk, yogurt, cooking oil, soups, chewing gums, cereals, etc.  The Foods with Function Claims system has been in place since 2015 and includes dietary supplements, conventional foods, and fresh foods.

The U.S. Commercial Service recommends that American dietary supplements producers work with a local Japanese partner to assist with market entry strategies and oversee necessary labeling requirements.  For further information and consultation, or for help in finding a local partner, please contact Tamami.Honda @trade.gov.

08/11/2021