Generally the strict regulations in Japan almost always ensure a quite significant lag in the time it takes to market compared to the countries in Europe or the USA. Of course, it doesn't help that most European companies almost always first prioritize the core EU markets, secondly the US and thirdly "the rest of the world" and add to that the complex bureaucracy in Japan that is required for healthcare products and you easily end up with a lag of 5+ years from the time a product was launched in Europe until it can be launched in Japan...
In the past, I have heard quite a few stories on how products have gone out of manufacturing just by the time Japan has gotten ready to launch ending up with a lot of work resulting in nothing. So now, we've finally getting to the point that the launch of the product is getting relatively close and some of the more hands-on marketing preparation is getting ready to start and sales projections put in order. So I got in touch with the global marketing VP in Germany to get some help in start crafting the story and supporting materials that we will need. After being ignored for a month, I get a reply back with a technical comparison between the product in question and the "new-and-improved" version that was launched recently in Europe and some of the competitors with the conclusive punchline "the version that you are about to launch is inferior in all aspects to the offering of our competitors and if anyone would open up the machine and examine the specs it would be clear that the competition is far better, why don't you go for the new product instead?".
There are the type of things that can make a grown man cry in my business here in Japan, not only is the VP suggesting that we do something that would result in us having to start all over with the work (and take another 3-5 years and countless work hours) but also pissing all over the current product (which, by the way, is the opposite of what marketing is supposed to do).
Sometimes I think that the key to surviving working in business here in Japan is to have a short memory and little attachment to the business, otherwise it would be way too easy to be pissed off most of the time.