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A repeat-survey on the impact of the EU-Japan EPA among 950 procurement offices of Japanese government organizations, conducted by the Japan Tax & Public Procurement (JTPP) Helpdesk has found that 95% of Japan’s public procurers have no direct experience in doing business with EU-suppliers.

Thus far the Partnership is yet to show its potential to provide new opportunities for EU enterprises as well as a offering a broader choice of suppliers for Japanese government entities.

The language barrier in a paperwork heavy business activity remains the main barrier for government procurers when dealing with suppliers from outside of Japan, as well as issues concerning suppliers who have no presence in Japan. These make cross-border participation in the public procurement market a challenging matter, in particular for European SMEs.

An inquiry about how Japanese procurers prepare their tenders found that in order get their solutions and products into the sights of Japanese government organizations, EU enterprises will have to engage in active marketing, as their Japanese peers do.

Existing specifications, based upon what is available in the domestic market, are the primary source of information for public procurers, when preparing tenders. A more active engagement with the international market by Japanese government procurers remains a uncommon phenomenon, with a tendency to rely domestic suppliers instead.

Riding the wave of Digital Transformation (DX) of government processes, a small but growing number of Japanese government entities is working to provide more procurement information via online platforms. Although they are still a minority, it is gradually becoming easier to remotely obtain information about business opportunities with the Japanese government and participate in procurement procedures from overseas.

The report summarizing the findings of this survey is available upon request. Please send an email to jtpphelpdesk@eu-japan.eu

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