English language portals
Japanese language portals
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Government Procurement Information Website
GEPS Government Electronic Procurement System portal
(Phased out in January 2019)
Government Gazette (kanpou)
Government Demand Information Portal
MLIT Tender information Service
NJSS Tender Information Express Service
Nyuusatsu King Tender Information Supply Service
‘Nyuusatsu no mori’ Tender Information Service
Kensetsu Shinbun (Construction Daily)
Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Business Chance Navi 2020
Japan does not have a one singular web portal in English for publishing all tender notices by the government. There are a number of portals, but each with their own scope and functionalities.
Please note the following with regard to the information provided:
- Information made available in English is standardized and summarized and based upon the notices published in the Government Gazettes, such as ‘Kanpo’.
- English summaries are usually only provided for tenders where the expected bid is higher than the WTO thresholds.
Tender notice portals in English
Scope: National, regional, local (limited)
JETRO provides the largest and most comprehensive online database of Japanese government procurement notices and invitations in English. The portal makes a distinction between national government entities (Ministries and related organizations) and local government. In the notices, it is also possible to switch to the Japanese original notice, which provide more extensive information.
National government tender notices
The national government database does not automatically provide the most recently posted notices. Users will have to enter search criteria to obtain these. Be aware that keyword searches will be limited to the title of the call and no search of tender specifications is conducted.
The national government database is largely divided into two sections:
- Notices of procurement,
These are tender calls to purchase goods or services. The calls have relatively short deadlines and will require immediate action.
- Notice of Procurement (construction services)
This section lists tender calls for construction projects. Please be aware that this requires a separate supplier qualification process.
- Notices of Procurement (selective tendering)
Selective tenders are those where the procuring entity approaches a small number of selected suppliers for tendering. Suppliers who are not invited have the possibility to be included in the bidding process, if they approach the purchasing entity.
- Notice on the use of single tendering procedures
Procuring entities have to make public why they choose single or limited tendering procedures, under the WTO GPA Article XV there are a limited number of reasons that are allowed.
- Notices of invitation
In case of the procurement of complex items, the government entity may ask suppliers to submit materials to assist the procuring entity to draw up tender specifications. This is a step before the actual invitation to tender, and will give companies a possibility to have influence on the drafting of the tender and more time to prepare for the actual tender.
In this case, the government entity has drawn up specifications for the item it is planning to purchase, but wants to verify whether it suppliers can deliver the item under the drafted specifications, before announcing the actual call. Here as well, it is possible to have some influence on the tendering process and anticipate on upcoming calls.
- Information on Public Offering Proposal
These are notices regarding architectural and engineering design and other technical services, where the quality of the designs is evaluated. In Japan, the majority of public works projects are divided into separate tenders for design and for the actual construction. Design activities for advertising and promotion campaigns or websites are usually also listed here.
- Notice of bid successor and others
Government entities are required to publish the result of the tender. In this English version at this website this functionality often does not work properly.
- Notice of future procurement plans / Early announcement of tenders
Procuring entities will publish here, which items they are planning to procure in the current fiscal year. Please note that not all entities will list their plans.
Local government tenders
The local government database is limited to notices published by 47 prefectures and 20 large cities as designated in Japan’s Agreement on Government Procurement. The search section has a slightly different interface, as it does not list notices of invitation.
The portal also offers lists of entities covered by the service and lists with links to so-called "core cities" and "exceptional cities" After accessing these links, automatic machine translations in English are provided.
Scope: National, regional, local
The Government Procurement Information Website is administered by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, and maintained by METI. The website strives to gather procurement information from local procuring entities, using WebCrawler technology with machine translations.
Local procuring entities are smaller cities and towns that fall outside of the WTO GPA agreement. Technical limitations to this system make the information gathered sometimes difficult to comprehend and the technology does not gather procurement notices stored in online databases.
Queries done through this service, will result in short descriptions with a direct link to the Japanese source text. Only the Japanese source text will give an indication whether the call has finished or not.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications offers a simplified (the Japanese version has more categories) section that allows searching of procurement information in English. It offers five searchable categories :
- Notice of request for submission of materials
Procuring entity asks prospective bidders to provide materials regarding item they are planning to procure. This is the step before the actual tender and will give you longer time to prepare your bid. This method is used with complex tenders.
- Notice of request for comments
The procuring entity has prepared technical specification on the procurement of an item and asks prospective bidder to give comments on these. This is the step before the actual tender and will give you longer time to prepare your bid. This method is used with complex tenders.
- Notice of open bidding procurement
Procuring entity invites designated suppliers to submit bidding documents within the set time frame. These are open tendering procedures.
- Notice of designated bidding Procurement
Notice where procuring entity announces that it is planning to procure items from designated suppliers (In practice this method is relatively rare) Reasons for designated or limited tender procedures have to be published and are limited to those stipulated in WTO Article XV.
- Notice of optional contract
These are contracts awarded to a single tenderer. (zuiikeiyaku)
The results of the searches are the exact text of the notice published in the ‘Kanpo’ government gazette. The upper part will be the notice in Japanese, and below you will find the English summary of the notice.
- Chotatsu Portal
- GEPS Government Electronic Procurement System portal
- Government Gazette (kanpou)
- “Chotatsujoho” website
- Government Demand Information Portal
- MLIT Tender information Service
- NJSS Tender Information Express Service
- Nyuusatsu King Tender Information Supply Service
- ‘Nyuusatsu no mori’ Tender Information Service
- Kensetsu shinbun (Construction Daily)
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government
- Business Navi 2020
There are a number of portals in Japanese that gather and publish public procurement notices. Some are publicly run, but there are also a number of commercial services available. The government-run portals are often limited in scope, as procuring entities usually have their own designated sites.
Scope: National, procurement of goods and services and part of public works.
The Chotatsu Portal was launched in October 2018, to replace the GEPS Government Electronic Procurement System Portal. It provides better integration of the various functionalities available on GEPS, such as searching tender notices, application for the Unified Supplier Qualification and participation in online tender procedures. Other than on GEPS, the English search function has also been integrated into the main page, however no other information is provided in English as of yet. (Note: Search function does not work in Chrome)
Scope: National, procurement of goods and services and part of public works.
The GEPS portal was launched in March 2014 to unify the electronic bidding systems of the various ministries. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications maintain this site. During the course of 2014 and 2015 all national government entities are scheduled to join the GEPS portal.
At the portal there are links to the earlier established ”Chotatsujoho"portal to apply for supplier qualification and search for tender notices. On the site it is possible to apply (Digital ID necessary) for the electronic bidding system used by the participating procuring entities (currently a number of ministries). Once this registration is completed, users can use the site to take part in electronic bidding.
The Government Gazette or Kanpo is the official publication of the Japanese government, published by the National Printing Bureau and is also available on the internet. It contains all important government announcement and also has a seperate section for government procurement. The interface is not searchable, although direct links to various types of notices (including English summaries) are given. The Gazette itself are PDF prints that can be browsed page by page. The announcements are limited to central government entities.
Notices of national procuring entities that utilize the Unified Supplier Qualification system.
Scope: National and local, focus on smaller tenders
‘Kankouju” or ‘Public Demand’ relates to the public budget specifically awarded to SMEs.
Scope: Limited number of procuring entities such as Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism (MLIT), Defence Agency.
Website is managed by Japan Construction Information Center (JACIC), organisation closely linked to MLIT with mostly public works tenders (construction). Has section on scheduled tender notices, giving time to anticipate on upcoming tenders.
Scope: National, regional, local. Monitors 5300+ procuring entities
Commercial service, which gathers tender notices from 5300 procuring entities. Company uses home workers to monitor the tender websites of procuring entities, who enter this information into their database. Database is comparatively easy to use, and allows analyses of competition and bidding prices from their archive containing almost 5 million registered tenders. Also email service on keywords.
Basic subscription fee is 48.000 JPY per month, and the premium service is 56.000 yen. (Rates on basis of annual subscription). There is the possibility to do an 8-day free trail.
Scope: National, regional, local. Monitors 1.000 procuring entities on 8.000 sites
Commercial service, which gathers tender notices from 1.000 procuring entities on 8.000 sites. Prides itself to provide tender information from local governments in particular. User interface is somewhat complex, with many options. Gathers its information electronically and performs manual checks as well. Allows category search and full text searches in Japanese and is updated daily. Company offers a variety of subscriptions in terms of scope. Annual fee for whole country is 43,333 JPY per month, on basis of annual subscription. Also offers 10-day free trial.
Scope: National, regional, local. Monitors 3.642 procuring entities.
Commercial service, which gathers tender notices from 3.642 procuring entities. Allows keyword searches. Annual fee is 300,000 JPY. Offers a 7-day free trial.
Scope: National, regional, local, private sector, limited to construction related procurement
The online version of the Kensetsu Shinbun, the newspaper for the Japanese construction sector, offers a variety of information services regarding construction related procurement. The website has sections for calls for tender, but also announcements for upcoming tenders. The extent of their coverage of procuring entities is not clear. Subscribers to the paper version of Kensetsu Shinbun can get a monthly subscription ranging from ¥4320 to ¥10800 (prices per region). Prices for non-subscribers range from ¥9720 to ¥16200 per month per region.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) covers close to 25% of the total population of Japan, with an estimated 31 million inhabitants. TMG operates its own designated public procurement portal. It's website is solely in Japanese, but it is adds summarized information in English with its tender notices falling under the WTO GPA regime, which are published in the Gazette of the Tokyo Government. Be aware that this so-called tokutei choutatsu or specified procurement edition only lists WTO tenders. Other tender calls can be found elsewhere on this page. As the page is entirely in Japan, here is an explanation how to access this information.
- Click the top green bar, where the English explanation is attached,
- In the following page, click the data of the notice you which to view. This will open the edition of the Gazette of that day,
- In the PDF file, scroll down to view the notices, with the English summaries.
- Contact details of the department issuing the call, can usually be found under point 8 of the original Japanese call above it.
Scope: Tokyo, Olympics organizing committee, Japan Sports Council, private companies
The Business Navi 2020 procurement website is an initiative by Tokyo Metropolitan Government to attract more SMEs to participate in public procurement. The initiative is motivated by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and modelled after a similar initiative undertaken in the run-up to the London Olympic Games of 2012. The site lists procurement notices published by TMG, which are taken from the regular procurement website, which form the largest number of notices. Also included are notices by the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee and some third-party private entities. To enter the website, free registration is required as the website also includes a business matching service. As far as is know, foreign companies can also register. For those who have Japanese language capabilities, the service offers a number of useful functions to manage the notices.