Having introduced its unique water systems to over one million homes in Japan, Nihon Trim has expanded into agriculture and healthcare, where it is developing electrolyzed hydrogen water-based treatments for disease prevention.
In recent years the Japanese private sector has been criticized for lacking the flexibility in innovation and we have seen the rise of regional competitors, such as China and Korea. However, when it comes to highly specialized fields, such as regenerative medicine, material science or robotics, Japan is one of the leaders worldwide. Could you give us your point of view of the competitive advantages of the ‘Made by Japan’ brand?
If I talk about what the ordinary person’s view is worldwide, then I believe they view Japanese monozukuri that we do not believe in compromise. When you start manufacturing a product, you don’t leave or drop something out halfway to make it easier. People in Japan are very keen on details and are very precise. We believe in perfection. Also, it is not just the manufacturing process itself, as we believe in providing a good after-service for the customers.
Additionally, although Japanese companies have been encouraged to move abroad in regards to making the manufacturing process cheaper, to China and Vietnam for example, the Japanese monozukuri mindset remains. The same devotion and level of quality remains when Japanese companies manufacture abroad. The core essence of Japanese manufacturing remains intact but has just been expanded into different locations.
It is the same attention to detail and devotion that we try to apply in our company. Our company is famous for the electrolyzed hydrogen water apparatus, “Trim Ion”. It generates three kinds of water; electrolyzed hydrogen water (hereunder ‘EHW’), purified water and acid water. Electrolysis is a process whereby an electric current is passed through water containing an electrolyte (a mineral ion, for example), causing oxidation and reduction reactions that would not otherwise have occurred. The water on the anode side is oxidized and the water on the cathode side is reduced, thus EHW is produced. Our apparatus is home-use controlled medical device and approved of effect of improving gastrointestinal problems by drinking EHW. We have the top market share in the world for this apparatus.
Your company was established in 1982. Could you please highlight the key milestones of your company?
We were originally established as a trading company but a trading company has a limit on what it can reach, there is a roof to its progress. The purchasing price and selling price are stuck in a certain network. As such, the first real key milestone was when we transformed into a manufacturing company in 1990. The next milestone was the joint research with National Taiwan University. Thanks to scientific studies with the university, we found that EHW scavenges Active Oxygen Species and released a paper about it. We have called this day as ‘The day water received a value.’ After that, we have started seeing EHW as a product with functions such as antioxidant, not just ‘water’. This has brought a significant change in the market.
You mentioned having started manufacturing the electrolyze hydrogen water system in 1990, what is today your core business product. You are now developing new applications for this product in the medical and agricultural industries. Could you give us an overview of your products and its different applications?
I will first talk about the agricultural field. Some cooperation in agricultural activities are done with the prefectural governments. In the implementation with Kochi Prefecture, the growth in the volume of harvested paprika by 15% as a result of using EHW. Another example would be melons in the prefecture of Shiga. EHW has used for irrigation and foliar spray. As a result, we have seen a significant growth in the size of the melons and in their degree of sweetness.
We have received good acclaims from our customers. For the farmers, it is of course very important to maximize the volume of the harvested fruits and vegetables, and EHW apparatus is efficient in helping them in this way.
In the medical field, we are now concentrating our efforts on the electrolyzed water hemodialysis system and trying to make it as a world standard, with the final aim of being able to extend human life expectancy and improve the quality of life (QOL). Another objective is to decrease the cost of the medical treatments by improving the patients’ resistance of the body to potential diseases or allergies. This system has been documented in various reports and is already in use in a Chinese hospital. We nurture a strong ambition in this system for the future. We want to help people and make them happier.
From your foundation in 1982, your company has grown significantly from having one location to twenty-eight in Japan and is also expanding overseas. What would be your mid-term strategy to maintain this expansion?
For now, the number of households that we have been providing in Japan is one million. The average use per person of EHW is still relatively small whereas the studies show good results in maintaining people healthy. Given the ageing population of Japan and the increasing in health consciousness, there is still a large potential of expansion for our company. Our ambition is to introduce EHW apparatuses to every household in Japan. Once we have managed to reach a good equilibrium on the Japanese market, we will think about reaching another level of development because we believe that our system can help people in the world.
Speaking about helping people in the world, you have already begun expanding overseas such as Indonesia, Taiwan, and China. Could you tell us more about your international strategy?
We already have some activities in China. One of them is to conduct a hospital in Beijing, which is introduced as a significant international deployment on the website of the Cabinet Secretariat. The potential of growth is still huge on this market. Going forward, we will extend our apparatuses not only in Asia but also the whole world. This is our priority.
One of your objectives is to become a medical global company, for example by the mean of a merging/acquisition or a partnership. What is your strategy to penetrate these markets efficiently?
We are now trying to find a trustful partner in local areas. We are still a little slow in reaching this expansion so we would like to cooperate with some local partners or groups that could help us go faster.
If we had to take this interview again in ten years of time, what dreams would you like to have achieved for your company by then?
The use of electrolyzed hydrogen water system around the world is of course our main ambition. We are currently leading some studies along with many research institutes both in Japan and abroad, such as the University of Tokyo, Tohoku University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, to elucidate the features of functional water. By doing so, we hope to see results coming very soon. It is just a matter of time. Overall, we aim to contribute to the health and happiness of all human beings with our “electrolyzed hydrogen water”.