Japanese small and medium-sized businesses have played an integral role in the vertically integrated economy of pre-war and post-war Japan, and should be credited with being the driving force behind Japan’s spectacular economic growth. However, they are now becoming increasingly marginalised by the cost-cutting strategies of large corporations and conglomerates which have shifted to a system of horizontal division of labour in which most production is being outsourced overseas.
The inherent strength of small and medium-sized businesses is their ability to create a diverse mix of state-of-the-art products which are precise, reliable and safe; and this is what has established “Made in Japan” as a world-renowned brand. However, in Japan today, their potential has been neglected due to over-supply resulting from population decline and the cutting of production costs by large, globalised corporations.
Although Japan’s economy has made rapid progress, at one time becoming the world’s second largest economy, Japan’s lack of a second language (English) has meant that overseas expansion by businesses has been limited to large corporations and conglomerates. In today’s economy, in which the population is declining and there is an excess of supply, small and medium-sized businesses are being forced to compete with each other in an ever-shrinking market.
Our organisation aims to bring together individual businesses to establish a body of cooperation and economic circulation which matches or exceeds that of larger corporations and conglomerates to enable the independent development of domestic and overseas markets, thereby assisting small and medium-sized businesses in Japan fulfil their full potential.
JLEF is an acronym for “Japan Leading-Edge Foundation”. This name was chosen to represent our organisation’s aim to assist member businesses lead the way to a better future by achieving success with state-of-the-art products and services in domestic and overseas markets.