September 7, 2020

Talking to Trade Show Organizers

Japan’s First “EXPAT EXPO” will Take Place on 6th and 7th November in Tokyo

Masatoshi Morishima
Executive Director, EXPAT EXPO TOKYO
Executive Officer & Manager of 2nd Sales Division, Innovent, Inc.

Please tell us the background and purpose of your “EXPAT EXPO TOKYO 2020”.
This show started from the idea of a Japanese version, “EXPAT EXPO”, a trade show for international residents in Japan, particularly embassy staff and company employees assigned to Japanese offices. Shows with the same idea have already existed for other countries. When we had a meeting with the local government of Tokyo’s Minato Ward, which is a cluster of foreign-capital companies and embassies, they said “let’s do this together!”. That got this trade show started.

I must mention Plaza Homes here. Plaza Homes has been working on the rental and sale of property especially for EXPAT for many years, and the website they operate has been a hub for information for foreigners. With their cooperation, we were able to put this plan into action.

The drop in inbound travel amid the coronavirus pandemic has been severe, and we have already heard from many companies that want to switch targeting foreigners living in Japan instead, or that they want a trade show oriented to international residents in Japan. So, the coronavirus crisis has actually boosted demand for this trade show.

The venue is Tokyo World Gate Kamiyacho Trust Tower, which just opened last year and has a richly international character. It’s a great match for the concept of this trade show.

Foreign population in Japan has been increasing greatly in recent years with the active intake of “highly-skilled foreign professionals”. The purpose of this event is to make matches between them and companies which are able to provide, in English or other foreign languages, the services and information they need to make their stays in Japan more comfortable and convenient.

The show will take place on the 6th and 7th of November, but what coronavirus countermeasures will be in place?
The show will, of course, be run according to Guidelines on Holding Trade Shows that were stipulated by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the administrative authority in charge, and the Japan Exhibition Association, an industry group. We will hold the event with appropriate measures in place, such as placing alcohol sanitizers, encouraging the wearing of masks, developing the venue to avoid crowding and close contact, and asking exhibitors to install acrylic screens in the meeting spaces of their booths.

What kinds of exhibitors are you looking for?
Companies which want to provide goods and services to international residents of Japan, and to visitors who are the general affairs and human resources officers of companies where there are foreigners present. We don’t set any particular restrictions on the goods and services which can be exhibited, and we are looking for exhibits from companies in a wide range of genres.

What visitors are you looking for?
Of the two days of the event, we set Friday the 6th as “Business Day”, and Saturday the 7th as “Family Day”. So, on Business Day, the 6th, we want those who are there on business, such as the human resources and general affairs staff of companies with foreign stationed personnel. On Family Day, the 7th, we want foreign stationed personnel to visit with their families. Our ultimate aim for the language of the show is to become multi-lingual, but in the first year we are targeting those who use English.

What are the showcase projects, and associated seminars and events, for this show?
We are now planning them, to great acclaim. We will present them on the website once each one is ready.

In closing, what is your brief PR message?
This will be Japan’s first trade show for “expats”! We want as many people as possible to exhibit, and to visit. Thank you for your support!