Established in 1958 by the Japanese government as a special public institution to implement trade policy, JETRO spent its first two decades essentially promoting exports to help build up the Japanese economy. Later, as Japan’s trade surplus grew to unprecedented levels, JETRO concentrated on helping foreign companies enter the Japanese market. In 1998, the organization substantially upgraded its research ability by merging with the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE).

But perhaps the biggest change of all occurred on October 1, 2003, when JETRO carried out a major reorganization to become a new type of publicly funded organization. Backed by a worldwide network comprising JETRO Headquarters Tokyo, JETRO Osaka, IDE, 36 branches throughout Japan and 76 overseas, JETRO is:
– Helping Japanese enterprises, particularly small and medium-size enterprises, build stronger business ties in ASEAN countries and the rest of East Asia, and thereby stimulate the Japanese economy.
– Promoting foreign direct investment in Japan, including greater inflows of capital, technologies, know-how and intellectual assets, to stimulate the Japanese economy, increase employment and enable Japan to continue demonstrating leadership in the global economy.
– Assisting Japanese small and medium-size enterprises in the export of high-quality products, technologies and designs to the global market, as well as supporting their efforts to develop other international business, to further stimulate the Japanese economy.

JETRO also continues to carry out economic research overseas and collect extensive information for dissemination to business circles. As before, the Institute of Developing Economies conducts extensive studies of developing economies. JETRO provides a variety of other valuable services and support as well, including the organization of exhibitions and trade fairs and the dispatch of international trade and investment missions.

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