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  • Writer's pictureKen Irie

Marketing in the Japanese Medical Industry: Challenges and Solutions

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

There have been a few recent inquiries from medical startup companies, so I am leaving this as a memo. The medical industry in Japan is highly regulated, making marketing activity for companies in this sector difficult. There are several reasons why marketing in the Japanese medical industry can be difficult, including restrictions on advertising and a lack of consumer access to data. Let’s take a look at the challenges facing marketers in this sector, as well as some potential solutions.

Marketing in the Japanese Medical Industry

The Regulatory Environment

The Japanese medical industry is heavily regulated by both the government and various trade organizations. This means that there are strict rules governing what kind of information can be shared with consumers and how it is presented.

As a result, many common marketing tactics are not available to companies operating in this sector.

This makes it difficult for marketers to reach their target audience and promote their products or services.

The closed nature of the industry

It is particularly difficult to sell products in the medical industry. There are strict regulations for medical organizations, and dealing with doctors and nurses is all about trust. By identifying customer needs and conducting appropriate surveys, it is possible to sell to small clinics and offer services and products that are suitable for their needs.

The complex authority structures found in large hospitals make it difficult for new vendors to find DMUs, and normal B2B marketing techniques may not work in such hospitals.

Cultural factors

Foreign companies may find it difficult to navigate and understand Japan's cultural norms because of its unique culture. It is essential for successful marketing for the medical sector in Japan to build relationships and trust with Japanese healthcare professionals. Slowly and steadily building connections with hospitals is critical to successful sales.

Medical providers tend to place a high value on trust and will prioritize those with whom they have a relationship if they offer the same service.

It is more likely that you will be able to schedule a meeting when you build relationships.

A steady sales effort is necessary, such as attending medical professional social events and making friends with pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Potential Solutions

Despite these challenges, there are still ways for marketers in the Japanese medical industry to reach their target audiences and promote their businesses effectively. For example, they could focus on digital marketing tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media campaigns, which do not require physical contact with prospective customers or large-scale distribution efforts.

Additionally, they could consider partnering with influencers who have an established following within their target demographic or investing in sponsored content that will get their message across without breaking any laws or regulations.


Marketing activity for the Japanese medical industry can be difficult due to restrictions on advertising and limited access to data about customers’ needs and preferences. However, by focusing on digital marketing tactics such as SEO and social media campaigns as well as partnering with influencers or investing in sponsored content, companies operating within this sector can still reach their target audiences and promote their businesses effectively despite these challenges.

With the right strategy in place, marketers operating in the Japanese medical industry can find success despite these obstacles – so long as they remain mindful of all applicable laws and regulations throughout the process.

nordic shift digital marketing will advise the challenges and the solutions.

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