Today there are no exact statistics on the number of Muslims in Japan and the estimates fall as low as 70 000 people or climb closer to 200 000. Even the highest figures may not seem like a lot compared to the general number of population on the islands of Japan. However, this sector has created a demand for a very certain type of products, halal food, which is still too far away from being satisfied.
Halal market in Japan is expected to steadily grow in the nearest future, offering new entrepreneurial opportunities and possibilities for new and well-established businesses. Let us take a closer look at what halal is, what is happening with it in Japan, and why it matters.
What is Halal?
Almost unknown in Japan, the word halal refers to things that are “allowed” or “permissible” under Islam law. It is used to describe a variety of material and non-material objects and concepts. But the majority of non-Muslims probably came to learn about halal from the food industry.
In practice it means a set of rules to be observed in regards to raw materials, ingredients, and procedures employed when creating a product or developing a service. The same rules apply also during the whole production cycle. Permissible ingredient should in no way contact those that are forbidden or haram.
Why should Japan pay attention to these rules?
Increasing number of Muslims in Japan
Islam is the fastest growing religion on Earth and it is expected to overcome Christianity in the number of followers. Japan will not be an exception, even if the high level of homogeneity and presence of Japan’s very own beliefs and practices may slow down the process.
Also, Japan attracts a lot of tourists. In 2016, about 2 million people visited the islands, and in 2018 over a million Muslim tourists are expected to come to Japan. One of the main reasons for such flow is that Indonesian and Malaysian tourists, who are predominantly Muslims, do not need a Japanese visa for travelling.
In 2018 over a million Muslim tourists are expected to come to Japan.
Moreover, with Tokyo Olympics of 2020 straight ahead Japan will have to accommodate all kind of needs of the visitors, including the provision of halal goods and services. The lack of thereof may be a serious obstacle for visitors who observe halal practices.
What Opportunities does Halal Bring?
With the growth of the community in the country and a greater influx of Muslim travelers, Japan needs to keep up with this trend. There will be increasing demand for religious facilities, certain types of products, and most importantly appropriate grocery and dining options.
Halal is a great area to look at closer for entrepreneurs interested in the restaurant business or food production. There are already many goods, shops, and restaurants in Japan that bear halal-approved markings, and their number is growing. Nevertheless, there is still a big sector that does not have its demand satisfied.
Do you think Japan needs more products and services to meet halal requirements?