The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The market for Japanese government relations has undergone fundamental changes over the past decade, growing from a tiny niche to an essential and mainstream part of doing business in Japan. The sector is also now benefiting from the growing sophistication of both practitioners and clients.

ASIA ORIGINS
The largest government relations and public policy company in Japan is GR Japan, the flagship operation of the GR Group. When it was founded in 2010, few businesses in Japan felt the need for professional Japanese government relations services. But that has clearly changed. Growing numbers of multinationals and local companies, as well as industry and third-sector organizations, now recognize the importance of government engagement as a crucial aspect of their operations.

There is also an increasing awareness that engagement with government stakeholders requires professional support, planning, and strategic engagement—in the same way as media, suppliers, and customers.

Crucially, growing appreciation of the value of government relations is also evident on the government side. Lawmakers readily credit the industry for providing new policy ideas and for enhancing decision-makers’ access to global expertise and global best practice.

The GR Japan team has grown in line with this trend, expanding from two to nearly 60 government relations professionals in just nine years. The team includes former parliamentarians, local assembly members, diplomats, academics, journalists, and senior business executives. As well as its base in Tokyo, the GR Group now also has offices in London, Osaka, Washington DC, and Seoul. GR Korea became the latest member of the group in January of this year, with a specialist Korean team now offering dedicated government relations services for the Korean market.

GR Japan‘s Tokyo Office

US EXPANSION
Given the importance of the United States as a government rela­tions hub, the GR Group opened its first US office in Washington DC in late 2018 as GR Group Asia. The US company is led jointly by James Fatheree, former vice president for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce and longtime president of the US–Japan Business Council, and Bridgette Clark, a former US Foreign Commercial Service offi­cer with experience in Japan who has worked on trade and investment projects in more than 40 countries.

The presence of a Japanese and Korean government relations advisory firm in Washington DC reflects the steady demand for local, on-the-ground support for US clients as well as the growing need for expertise on US trade policy and economic relations with Asia.

SECTOR EXPERTISE AND SPECIALIZATION
Japan’s government relations sector continues to grow, both in size and in sophistication, enabling specialization in sector teams such as: healthcare; energy and environment; information and communications technology; financial services; defense;  transport and tourism; fast-moving consumer goods; food and beverages; and not-for-profit sector.

For inquiries to GR Japan or the GR Group, please contact info@grjapan.com or info@gr-group.com.

For inquiries to GR Japan or
the GR Group, please contact
info@grjapan.com or
info@gr-group.com.
Growing numbers
. . . recognize government engagement as a crucial aspect of their operations.