The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) will support Japanese companies specializing in pharmaceutical products and medical equipment expand into emerging markets. The MHLW will establish a new system to provide up to 20 million yen per application to obtain an international certification necessary for local sales. Japan expects that the pharmaceutical product market will expand as other Asian countries are also seeing their populations gradually age. By helping to reduce initial costs, which have been a major obstacle to Japanese medical companies in making inroads into emerging countries, Japan aims to introduce Japanese-style healthcare there.
From this month the MHLW will ask private businesses for ideas regarding overseas expansion. A panel of outside experts will examine the ideas and select a few eligible businesses within the year. The MHLW plans to subsidize businesses in Asia and Africa and smaller companies.
Emerging economies tend to have no or underdeveloped official certification systems for pharmaceutical products and medical equipment. The MHLW says that many successful businesses obtained certification from the World Health Organization (WHO) to begin selling medical products rather early in the target countries. But getting the certification requires frequent visits to the WHO headquarters or related offices and incurring ballooning costs for such things as translation of documents, prompting some companies to ask the MHLW for subsidies.