Japan remains a manufacturing nation with industrial production at all scales from large to small, with a deep culturally rooted hunger for creative design. Consumers are highly sophisticated and appreciate the originality/edge of contemporary British work – and are prepared to pay more for items that are distinctive. Japan’s business ministry, METI, has an ongoing programme of financial support to small and medium size domestic firms (3.15bn Yen as of 2013) to assist strategic planning, brand establishment and product development.
Already, 313 cases have been successfully supported linked to overseas designers/design input.
Japanese companies are actively looking for support in areas of British strength like:
- Social design (eg. accessibility in hospitals/municipal facilities – Japan has a rapidly aging population)
- Human interface (including but not exclusive to digital media)
- Quirky/quintessentially British. Appealing to a Japanese aesthetic but with a ‘twist’ (think Paul Smith)
The information above is provided by UK Trade & Investment Japan. www.ukti.gov.uk/japan. Crown Copyright 2013