The Japanese market will grow into a lucrative option for developed CBD companies in North America and Europe in the medium-to-long term, and companies like Elixinol, Phivida, and New Age are taking advantage already despite slow growth. However, for the short term, Japanese consumers remain serviced by mostly smaller local companies.
Elixinol Japan was one of the first companies to supply the Japanese market with CBD products, and was the first CBD company to be approved for a public advertisement in May 2018. In September 2018, the company doubled down on its Japanese investment, purchasing a majority stake in their subsidiary. However, shortly thereafter in October 2018, the company released a press statement acknowledging that some oils had been sold in their product line which were (accidentally) sourced from a non-compliant manufacturing process. Subsequent bad press and difficulties with regulators followed, and after a disappointing fall and winter, the company divested its interest in Elixinol Japan in December 2019.
Phivida Organics, a Canadian company specializing in the CBD-infused foods, drinks and 'clinical products' space as an extension of their commitment to organic, plant-based health and eating habits, began selling products on the Japanese market in January 2018. The company, which processes the CBD products in Ontario and exports them to Japan, has a distribution agreement with the local online Japanese distributor, Asayake.
New Age Beverages Corporation, a market leader in infused drinks and manufacturer of CBD oils from Colorado was approved by the Japanese Narcotics Control Division to sell their products in September 2019. The company will bring their 'Nhanced line of products to Japan, including a body cream, roll-on gel, and tincture, all of which will be sold "through over 50,000 direct-to-consumer product consultants."
AP Organics, a Swiss-British company focused on production of refined oils has also entered Japan, betting on the country's cosmetics market as its next big money-maker. The firm began business operations in Japan in August of 2019 and primarily partnered with vape companies, although representatives have expressed a business mission to enter the cosmetics space in the next year, where the company views more potential for CBD.
There are also smaller CBD brands from Japan and local CBD stores where consumers can explore their options. Healthy Tokyo, for example, maintains storefronts in the wealthy neighborhood of Minami-Aoyama and in the Haneda airport. A popular beauty store, Cosme Kitchen, carries CBD oil in its stores, and cafes in Japan's capital are selling CBD oils as part of their health food options.