This is a selection of the largest companies in Japan and some smaller companies whose products or services are an everday presence in the country or abroad.
One of the world's leading producers of amino acids, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. Manufactures and distributes a wide range of food products in Japan. The company name is synonymous with monosodium glutamate seasoning (Aji-no-moto brand), which was the first product launched in 1909. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Japan's second-largest airline, incorporated in 1952. Took its current name in 1958 following a merger between the Nippon Helicopter Transport Co and Far East Airlines. Mostly domestic flights to around 50 destinations but also operates international routes to almost 50 cities worldwide. Also provides cargo services and operates hotels and leisure facilties. In October 1999, ANA joined Star Alliance, the world's largest airline group. The group includes United Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
One of the three long-term credit banks established to encourage the reirth of industry in the postwar period. Incorporated as the Japan Real Estate Bank in 1957 and changed its name in 1977. Has some 30 domestic offices and branches as well as 6 subsidiaries overseas. Nationalised in 1998, bank officials entered talks in October 1999 with candidates for the purchase of the bank, which was finally taken over by a group made up of Softbank, Orix Corp. and Tokyo Marine and Fire Insurance Co Ltd. The bank was relaunched under its new name a year later ("aozora" means "blue sky" in Japanese). Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Asahi Bank, Ltd (now part of Resona Holdings, Inc)
Formed in 1991 through the merger of the Kyowa Bank and the Saitama Bank and renamed in 1992. Is more focused on individual borrowers than other city banks. Business is mostly in the Tokyo area. In October 1999, announced plans to form a holding company with Sanwa Bank and Tokai Bank, with which it had an alliance since the previous year. Asahi Bank pulled out of the plan the following June. In March 2002, joined the Daiwa Bank Holdings group, making it Japan's fifth largest. Merged the following year under the name Resona Holdings, Inc.
Japan's central bank, established in 1882 mainly to help curb inflation. This and control of the value of the yen remain key functions. Issues bank notes and acts as treasurer to the government. Implements monetary policy such as changes in lending rates and changes in reserve requirements. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (now Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc)
The world's No.1 bank in terms of assets. The Bank of Tokyo, incorporated in 1946, was Japan's only specialized foreign exchange bank with about two-thirds of its staff (including subsidiaries) employed overseas. Played an important part in Japan's economic expansion overseas from the 1950's. Merged with Mitsubishi Bank (founded as the Mitsubishi Exchange Office in 1880) to form Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. The bank's domestic network consisted of approximately 350 branches. The BTM Group had more than 400 offices located in major financial and commercial centers in some 45 countries. Unusually for a Japanese bank, almost 50 percent of business was overseas and it was the only Japanese financial institution listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As a result of deregulation, the bank teamed up with other members of the Mitsubishi group to enter insurance, brokerage and investment banking fields. In April 2001, joined with Mitsubishi Trust and Banking Co and Nippon Trust Bank to form the Mitsubishi-Tokyo Financial Group, which in turn merged with the troubled UFG Holdings on January 1 2006 to form Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Ltd (now part of Mizuho Financial Group)
Dai-Ichi Bank was Japan's first state bank, established in 1873. Was originally empowered to issue bank notes, until the Bank of Japan assumed this function in 1883. In 1971, it merged with Nippon Kangyo Bank, Ltd to form the largest commercial bank in Japan. The only bank with branches in every prefecture in Japan, DKB's network of almost 400 branches was visited by over 800,000 people a day. DKB was ranked fourth in the world in terms of total assets in March 1997 (over $450 billion). In 1998, DKB and Nomura Securities were severely punished by government regulators for making payoffs to a corporate racketeer (sokaiya). In 2002, DKB was consolidated with the Industrial Bank of Japan and Fuji Bank to form the Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's second-largest bank. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Japan's first life insurance company, currently No.2 in the country and the world. Incorporated in 1902, the company has some 2,000 unit offices, 100 district offices and 100 branches throughout Japan. Part of a worldwide network for pooling insurance for multinational corporations and overseas investment programs. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
One of Japan's biggest securities firms, founded in 1902 and incorporated in 1943. Engaged in underwriting, brokerage and trading. Provides securities and other financial services worldwide. Became the first listed holding company in Japan in April, 1999. Entered a strategic alliance with Sumitomo Bank in April 1999 and is now part of the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Japan's largest advertising agency, founded in 1901 and took its present name in 1987. Ranked the No.1 advertising agency brand in the world. Produced the first newspaper advertisements and TV commercial in Japan. Coordinated services for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and the 1988 games in Seoul. Handles advertising for most large corporations in Japan. Has invested heavily in television companies and wields considerable power on their boards of directors. Also carries out market research and produces commercials. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Fuji Bank, Ltd (formerly Yasuda Bank, now part of Mizuho Financial Group)
Founded by Yasuda Zenjiro in 1864 as a money-exchange business that became Yasuda Bank in 1880. Became Fuji Bank in 1948, when it held the largest deposits of any bank in Japan. Opened its first overseas branch in London in 1952 and became the first Japanese bank listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1987. Had some 300 domestic branches but less than 50 abroad following closures in the US. Services included commercial and investment banking, leasing and securities-related business. Japan's sixth-largest bank, in 2002, consolidated with the Industrial Bank of Japan and Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank to form the Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's second-largest bank. Corporate headquarters are in Tokyo.
http://www.subaru.com/ (Subaru of America)
Formed from several companies of the former Airplane Research Institute in 1955, out of which came the famous WWII Zero fighter. Manufactures cars, buses and light aircraft. Best known for its cars sold under the brand name Subaru (also has a tie-up with Isuzu). Introduced Japan's first mass-produced front-wheel drive car, the Subaru 1000, in 1964 and the world's first mass produced passenger car-style 4-wheel drive vehicle, the Subaru 4WD Station Wagon, in 1972. In 1977, became the first carmaker to produce models which cleared Japan's 1978 emission standards - the severest in the world. Employs about 15,000 people worldwide. Headquarters are in Tokyo.
Incorporated in 1934 from the photo film division of Dai-Nippon Celluloid Co. Expanded into cameras in 1948, magnetic tape in 1960 and more recently, video tape and digital products. Formed Fuji Xerox Ltd in 1962 with Rank Xerox of the UK. Largest manufacturer of consumer camera film in Japan. Developed the compact 24mm APS (advanced photo system) with four other companies in 1996. Since 1982 Fuji is one of the main sponsors of the FIFA World Cup. Most Steven Spielberg movies are shot on Fuji stock film. Headquarters are in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.
Evolved from the telecommunications division of Fuji Electric Co, Ltd in 1935. Manufactures and sells software & services, computing & communications platforms, electronic devices. Released Japan's first computer, the FACOM 100, in 1954. The Fujitsu Group includes over 500 companies and almost 200,000 employees in over 100 countries. Headquarters are in Tokyo.