JAPAN – Overview of medical device industry and healthcare statistics

Below you will find basic demographic and healthcare market data on Japan, plus specific information about the medical device and healthcare industries.

Overview of medical device industry: Japan is an economic powerhouse, and its medical device market is one of the biggest in the world. The Japanese medical device industry was valued at US$28.1 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow steadily through 2020, when it should reach over US$31.7 billion.

Japan has a robust domestic manufacturing market. Many major Japanese producers are well-known outside Japan. Yet, the majority of the medical devices used in the Japanese healthcare system are imported from other markets. Despite Japan's reputation as a hub of technological innovation, there is still opportunity for foreign manufacturers in the medical device sector.

Opportunities in the Japanese market: Japan has a very large aging demographic; over 25% of the Japanese population is older than 65. This makes it a very attractive market for foreign manufacturers, especially those marketing devices used in treating lifestyle and age-related conditions. There is strong demand for interventional cardiology equipment, pacemakers, orthopedic implants, home care, preventative care, and innovative technologies.

Industry challenges in Japan:  The Japanese regulatory process can be lengthy and expensive. Regulations and documents are published almost exclusively in Japanese and the PMD Act imposes strict requirement and clinical standards for foreign manufacturers. An experienced regulatory partner with a presence in Japan is essential. As such, large corporations with the resources to push through the regulatory process already have a strong hold on the Japanese market.

Foreign manufacturers can also expect hefty competition from domestic manufacturers. Japan is home to leading consumer technology companies that also design medical devices. The greatest competition is in diagnostic imaging, therapeutic and surgical equipment, biophenomena measuring and monitoring systems, home therapeutics, dialyzers, and endoscopes.

How Japan compares to other markets

  JAPAN Compare to
CHINA
Compare to
UNITED STATES
Population 126,919,659 1,367,485,388 321,368,864
Primary language(s) Japanese Chinese, Mandarin English
Total healthcare spending $469 billion $574 billion $3 trillion
Healthcare expenditures total (% of GDP) 10.2% 5.5% 17.1%
Healthcare expenditures per capita $3703 (USD) $420 (USD) $9403 (USD)
Expenditures on healthcare Government: 84%
Private: 16%
Government: 56%
Private: 44%
Government: 48%
Private: 52%
Size of medical device market (USD) $26 billion (USD) $8.7 billion (USD) $147.7 billion (USD)
Number of hospital beds 13.7 per 1000 people 3.8 per 1000 people 2.9 per 1000 people
Age distribution 0-14 years: 13%
15-64 years: 60%
65 years and over: 27% (2015 est.)
0-14 years: 17%
15-64 years: 73%
65 years and over: 10% (2015 est.)
0-14 years: 19%
15-64 years: 66%
65 years and over: 15% (2015 est.)
Life expectancy at birth Male: 81 years
Female: 88 years
Male: 73 years
Female: 78 years
Male: 77 years
Female: 82 years
Currency Yen Renminbi yuan (¥) US dollar ($)

Want to see how Japan compares to many other countries in Europe and around the world? Download our free PDF Healthcare spending by country.