Japan General Manager - Business Development Director - Kim Christian Botho Pedersen

Achievement - establishing export to Japan of Uridan

Achievements during 2002 / 2003

References with general constructors

3 of the 5 largest companies

References in prefectures

Reference installations in 17 out of 47 prefectures


JR, Sagami Tetsudo, Odakyu, Meitetsu and other

Sports stadiums

Koshien, Chiba Marine Stadium and more

Chain restaurants

McDolalds, Skylark and more

Department stores

Mitsukoshi, Takashimaya etc.

Railway station buildings

Lumine, etc.


Toyota, Nissan etc.

Theme parks

Oedo Onsen Monogatari, Kabukiza, Kenji World etc.

Pachinko halls

MGM, etc.

Number of sales agents established

30 agent companies across Japan

Electronic store

Ishimaru Denki,

Schools & universities

Aichi University, Ebina Chugakko, etc.

High potential locations

More than 60 installations (Example: Express way Company, Railways, municipalities, General Constructors, etc)

Click here for a list of some of the installations.


In 2002, I made a contract with the Danish manufacturer of water free urinals, Uridan A/S, for the sole rights on the Japanese market for their water free urinals. Water free urinals had never been introduced to the Japanese market before, except for a very limited attempt by an american manufacturer. I saw the potential on the market, and knew the timeing and product was right.
I chose a Japanese importer company with good connections within the building industry to collaborate with to import and market the urinals in Japan. No one thought it was possible to penetrate the Japanese market with a Danish urinal as the Japanese companies TOTO and Inax had between 80 to 90% of the total market. But I knew it was possible to penetrate with this product and I knew this business was going to be a huge success if it was done correctly. It did succeed - at least in the introduction fase when I was still involved. The business failed after I left the company, but I cannot reveal the details here of several reasons.
Most of those who knew I was starting up this business, laught about it, because they thought it was insane to challenge such huge companies like TOTO and Inax on their very core markets and even their home market. Others warned me in starting up as TOTO and Inax definitely would crush such an attempt, they said. Others again told me all the reasons they could at all come up with why this business had to fail. Some explained that it did not fit to the Japanese culture, Japanese could never accept a urinal without flushing water. Some said that the design did not fit Japanese. And the list of "whys", reasons why it had to fail were simply endless! But I had seen the light! I knew this was the right product to bet my future on. The more people that did not understand the reason why it actually was a good idea, the better, I thought, because it meant more time to prepare the launch without competition. I knew I had the right product and I knew the timing couldnt be better.

The truth was that the business launch was extremely successful. We had so many inquiries from all kinds of companies all over Japan, than we never imagined. The product was simply a straight hit, and everybody wanted to participate in the business, once we started.

Our first exhibition was more than a success. We were awarded as the single most visited booth on the whole exhibition (IPEC 21), the booth that most people had voted as the best product and one other award. We got three out of 5 awards at this exhibition. And this success just continued.

I was already dreaming about the next business to introduce to the Japanese market.

The actual achievements:

Click here to see our actual reference list for only the first year of introducing Uridan to the Japanese market. As you can see from the list, there are major companies like JR (Japan Railways), McDonalds and Skylark (largest restaurant chains in Japan), car manufacturer (Toyota, Nissan etc), hotels, universities, pachinko halls, municipality offices, major department stores, gasolin stations, electronic stores, theme parks, stadions, buddhist temples, and you name it. All kinds of end users are represented. It is very important to notice that we succeeded in entering the largest companies in Japan within all kinds of end user segments. This in itself is an amazing achievement.
We also managed to establish collaboration with some of the largest companies within the building industry. Thus we had a collaboration with three of the five largest general constructor companies (Shimizu Kensetsu, Taisei Kensetsu, Obayashi Gumi), as well as many sub contractor companies covering all Japan. One of our agents was a well known railway company.

How was it possible?

First of all, we had a good and competitive product. Without this, it is impossible (per definition at least) to penetrate the Japanese market. Our product was competitive in price, function, environmentally friendly, why this part at least did not present any obstacles.

Secondly the timing was perfect. No one of our major competitors saw it coming. All competitors knew about the product, and they had been approached from the Danish manufacturer previously, but they had declined a collaboration on the Danish companys terms. One of the key issues here, is to understand why they had declined the possibility to become the agent for a Danish water free urinal. One of these reasons were that the price structure. Japanese manufacturers prices were higher the less water a urinal used. This would mean that our urinal which did not use water at all, had to be the most expensive. But as it was a simple glass fiber product with no technical attachments it was impossible to charge more than one of the cheapest urinals. This meant that the Japanese companies had to rethink their whole price structure if they wanted to sell our urinals. This also meant that they had no interest in starting up at least until they had a better idea if it would become a competing product or not in Japan. So we had some time with no competition.
I also have to comment, that I have absolutely no knowledge about the building industry. But I can understand the benefit of a product when it is explained to me and I can communicate those benefits well to the customers. A lot of companies are looking for people who knows the industry and the product in details, but in Japan, there are issues that count more than knowledge in depth abut a product. Knowledge of a product is something that can be learned on a short time frame, but understanding of the Japanese culture, how to do things etc. is not somethign you learn over night...
We also had some of the best Japanese sales people. Some with good connections, some with unusual approaches. We had the backup from relevant industries, and thus the first trials were installed quite early in the introduction fase. We managed to communicate all the benefits of using our product that the end user showed interest at the same time as a number of local companies saw the opportunity for a lucrative business. All these elements combined, became the perfect consept for the approach in Japan and it looked like I hit the Jackpot.
My personality also played a key-role. As mentioned many times on this web, I am Danish, but grew up in Japan. Japanese people are very much interested in talking to me reg. what is going on in the western world, how we think of Japanese people, about religion, politic, values, ecomomy, etc. They are keen on knowing more about the West. And I am the perfect story teller, as I can tell it in Japanese. This is a unique skill that I have elaborated through many years of moving back and forth beteween Japan and Denmark. I am an enternatiner in a business situation.
You want to know the rest of the story? You have to hire me :-) Much of the rest of the story is confidential and I cannot reveal it publickly.