Hisaaki Kato

Hisaaki Kato

CEO & President, Smooth Link

Hisaaki has worked with international food and nutrition businesses inside and outside Japan for over thirty years. As CEO of Smoothlink he now specialises in helping such businesses to overcome cultural, regulatory and business obstacles as they expand into the Japanese market.  Before joining Smooth Link in 2012 he spent eight years building DSM’s Japanese business and managing its merger and acquisition activities in the region. He previously managed global accounts for Roche Vitamins Group, creating a new market for carotenoids.  He has a BSc in Animal Sciences from Kitasato University in Tokyo.

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Feeding Japan.  Understanding a market in transition to realise your export goals

Japan is already one of the world’s largest food importers with a falling food self-sufficiency ratio exacerbated by problems with production. It’s also a society in transition.  Its traditional food culture – recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural Heritage since 2013 – is being eroded by changing lifestyles, an ageing population and concerns about food safety.  Hisaaki, who spends his days advising multi-national businesses on the challenges of selling into Japan’s food marketplace, shares his insights on how Japanese appetites are changing and how international companies can satisfy them.

  • Washoku under threat – how Japan’s food heritage is being modified by 21st century consumerism
  • Home grown for success – how Japan’s falling food production can be revived by foreign investment
  • Food and lifestyle – Japan’s rising demand for food convenience as family dynamics change
  • Easy, tasty, affordable and safe – how government is using regulation to underpin food priorities
  • From food to health – opportunities for functional foods in Japan’s health conscious communities



Food Vision Asia