Japanese government-affiliated organizations help local companies export sophisticated crafts made in Japan, such as stationery, furniture and accessories, through online business meetings with overseas buyers during the coronavirus epidemic. ..
The Japan External Trade Organization selected 519 products from 121 producers in this year’s Takumi Next project, which aims to assist Japanese craftsmen in expanding overseas. Takumi means craftsman in Japanese.
JETRO has established an online system that allows handicraft producers to access buyers and seek expert advice when contacting overseas markets. It also creates video clips that promote the product on social media such as Instagram.
Items include textiles, wood products, glass products, leather products, metalwork, ceramics and Japanese paper products. This month, the organization will launch online sales negotiations with 17 e-commerce buyers from countries and regions such as France, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
According to JETRO, Japanese products are expected to be sold via e-commerce buyers’ websites and pop-up stores after the deal is closed.
“This year, we used a coronavirus pandemic to set up a platform that connects producers across the country,” said Eshima Teshima, director and project director of the organization’s digital promotion department.
“We will support their overseas expansion in management, sales and public relations,” he said.
The Takumi project began last year to promote sophisticated Japanese products made with traditional techniques and rich cultural contexts, and JETRO recommended 260 products by 101 companies in its first year. All of them had to negotiate face-to-face with the buyer.
In the 2019 financial year, which ended in March, a total of 133 deals were expected to close between producers and buyers.
According to JETRO, about 180 craft producers applied for this year, and 121 companies in 36 prefectures were selected based on the image of “Japan Luxury.”
Among the 519 items selected for this year’s project is the “Happi” coat, which is designed to include mountains. Fuji produced by Surprise Creative Limited. Traditional coats are now occasionally worn at festivals.
JETRO will also form a community of craft makers on social media platforms, jointly developing new products and being able to discuss what to do when mutual problems occur.