Aerospace Resource Guide: Japan


Japan Statistics

Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Current Demand

Main Competitors

Best Prospects
Subsector Focus: Helicopters


Trade Events/Associations

CS Contact

Capital: Tokyo
: USD 4.729 trillion
: Japanese


Japan offers a lucrative market for imported aircraft, aircraft parts, and engines. U.S. firms have an overwhelming presence in the market due to long-standing relationships, some spanning over 50 years, with domestic manufacturers and trading firms. U.S. firms are presented with opportunities in the market as the domestic industry undertakes international projects, develops transport and patrol aircraft for defense, and develops small jets and small jet engines for civil aviation. U.S. firms that are new to the market should consider partnering with trading firms that are knowledgeable in aircraft industry networks.

Market Entry

Specialized trading firms market imports to domestic end-users including manufacturers, airlines, private users, law enforcement, defense, and other government agencies. Many U.S. manufacturers also have partnerships with their Japanese counterparts. New-to-market firms should consider partnering with trading firms knowledgeable in aircraft industry networks.

Current Market Trends

In the civil aircraft market, Japanese manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), and Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), supply about 35 percent of the content for the Boeing 787. The launch customer, All Nippon Airways, received the first 787 from Boeing in September 2011. Production is expected to increase.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries established Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MJET) in April 2008 to undertake the design, type certification, procurement, sales and marketing and customer support of Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). MJET announced in October 2007 that it selected Pratt & Whitney to supply Geared Turbofan engines for the aircraft. This next-generation engine will make the planes 20-30 percent more efficient and about 15 percent cheaper to operate than conventional regional jets. Other U.S. manufacturers such as Parker Aerospace (hydraulic systems), Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation (electrical power system), and Rockwell Collins (flight control system) are also suppliers of MRJ.

Current Demand

Unit: USD thousands





Total Market Size




Total Local Production




Total Exports




Total Imports




Imports from the U.S.




Exchange Rate: 1 USD




Data Sources: Total Local Production: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Total Exports, Total Imports and Imports from U.S.: Ministry of Finance


According to the Ministry of Finance, in 2013, imports of aircraft products amounted to USD 12.1 billion. Among them, U.S. aerospace products accounted for 68.9%. U.S.-made aircraft, aircraft engines, and parts and supplies enjoy an overwhelming presence in the market. However, for new-to-market manufacturers this may pose a competitive challenge.

Best Prospects

The Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies’ forecast for the next 5-6 years is bright. Japanese firms participate in various programs with Boeing and Airbus, which have many backorders. Defense procurement is considered to be limited due to budget constraints in the defense sector. Other international joint development projects and the national development of military and commercial aircraft and engines have set the stage for further growth in the market. This will present a favorable environment in the coming decade for U.S. firms.

Subsector Focus: Helicopters

Japan’s civil helicopter market has seen a continuous decline in the past decade due to decreasing demand for transport helicopters and dust cropping operations. The industry expects potential growth in such areas as emergency medical services or the so-called the Doctor Heli program and disaster relief operations at the outbreak of a major earthquake or other natural disasters. Japan’s Ministry of Defense, as the largest helicopter operator in Japan, operates helicopters for search and rescue operations at the time of natural disasters including major earthquakes.

The three indigenous manufacturers, MHI, KHI, and FHI, supply approximately 90% of their helicopter production to the Japanese Defence Agency, independently and in partnership with American manufacturers such as Sikorsky, Bell and Boeing. In the civil helicopter market, all major manufacturers have established their presence in Japan. Eurocopter, Bell, Robinson, Sikorsky, MD, and some other makers have successfully formed partnerships with local agents to market their products in Japan.


Generally, Japan does not levy import duties on aircraft or aircraft parts. The Civil Aircraft Agreement Product Coverage lists about 250 items that are duty-free provided they are for use in civil aircraft or ground flying trainers or for incorporation therein, in the course of their manufacture, repair, maintenance, rebuilding, modification or conversion.

Overall, U.S. suppliers have ample opportunities to tap into the market as Japanese manufacturers expand their horizons through partnerships with foreign firms and as they also develop domestic aircraft and engines.

Trade Events/Associations

Japan Aerospace International Exhibition

October 2016 | Tokyo, Japan

Japan’s only air show held every four years, Japan Aerospace 2012 was held in Nagoya, Japan, with 655 companies from 33 countries including 69 U.S. firms. The U.S. Commercial Service Japan provided on-site counseling to the U.S. Pavilion exhibitors throughout the show.

The Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies

Japan Business Aviation Association (JBAA)

Japan Helicopter Society

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information:

Ms. Sayoko Koto
Commercial Specialist
+81 (0) 3-3224-5079

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  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website disclaimer statement.