Japanese herbal medicine has been on a meteoric rise in recent years.
But now the country is starting to face competition from China.
As of the end of June, Japan’s government reported a nearly $1.1 billion increase in sales of herbal medicine products in the first six months of the year.
The growth was fueled by a surge in sales from China, which is now Japan’s largest importer of herbal products.
Japan’s health ministry reports that more than 9.6 million people have registered for herbal medicine coverage.
The popularity of herbal medicines has sparked an industry boom in Japan, which has nearly doubled in size since 2005, according to a 2015 report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
It’s the first time that Japan’s economic growth has surpassed that of China’s, the report noted.
But the industry is facing challenges.
In 2018, the country’s largest herbal product maker, Haribo, was sued by the government for allegedly defrauding consumers by misleading them about its products’ safety.
Haribo was later forced to shut down in the wake of the case.
In 2019, the Japanese government proposed new regulations on the herbal medicine industry that would require companies to label their products as “herbal medicines” or “cosmetic medicine” or else face a $50 million fine.
That’s a steep price to pay for the ability to market products as natural or natural alternative.
But the new regulations have not been widely implemented, making it hard for many companies to profit from their newfound market dominance.
In 2016, a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that herbal medicine sales rose more than fivefold in 2020 compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, China is also trying to take advantage of the booming market.
The country is currently the world’s largest seller of herbal medicinal products, according the WHO.
But the country has been struggling to address the problem, according a recent study by The Economist.
China’s health authorities estimate that it is responsible for more than half of all poisonings in China.
The WHO has called the country a “major poisoning hotspot,” with the country ranked 13th in the world for the number of cases of acute and chronic poisoning per capita.
The agency estimated that China’s overall healthcare costs are nearly $100 billion annually, and that more people die from poisoning than from cancer and heart disease.
Despite the problems, the herbal market is still thriving in Japan.
In the first half of 2018, herbal medicine made up nearly 20 percent of Japan’s total sales, according data from the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMMA).
And, according in the new data, herbal sales rose by more than 20 percent in 2019, according Japan’s National Health Insurance Corporation.
Japan’s health insurance company estimates that herbal sales grew by 15 percent in 2020, and by more that 30 percent in 2021.
“The Japanese market is big, and there’s no doubt that it’s growing.
But it’s really hard to compete with the Chinese,” said Shigeru Ohno, CEO of Tokyo-based company Kiko Co., which specializes in herbal medicine.
“The Japanese government needs to make sure that its regulations are just and fair.”
“But that’s a challenge, as they’ve been in China for a long time.
So I don’t see any solution,” he added.
While herbal medicine is growing in Japan at a healthy rate, it’s still difficult to compete in the country due to the stringent government regulations.
For example, the FDA requires that herbal medicines contain at least 70 percent of active ingredients.
That means most herbal products in Japan are limited to herbal products with more than 70 percent active ingredients, according Tojo Masaru, a senior lecturer at Kyoto University of International Relations.
The Japanese government also requires herbal medicines to have “essential health” warnings on the packaging, which could be seen as an obstacle for foreign companies, according Ohno.
In Japan, herbal medicines can also be imported in bulk.
But because of the regulations, the import costs can be prohibitive, he said.
“We see this as a barrier to the import of products that are natural or medicinal,” Ohno said.