SHOSHA Activities - Wide Range of Business Fields

Wide Range of Business Fields

Here, we will introduce a number of major Shosha business fields. Through these sectors, Shosha activities cover major sections of the Japanese economy.


Shosha sell a wide range of steel materials (e.g., sheets, pipes, rails, rods & wires, stainless steel, and specialty steel) to customers inside and outside Japan. They not only make deliveries on a “just-in-time” basis through their network of domestic and foreign agencies, but may also have their own inventories and offer value-added fabricating services: cutting coil supplied from steel makers to meet customer needs, for example, or offering plating at surface processing plants.

Profile of Business Fields

Non-Ferrous Metals

Besides iron and steel, Shosha handle all other types of metals, including aluminum, copper, nickel, and rare metals. Many non-ferrous metals are subject to intense price fluctuation. To assure a stable supply on a long-term basis, Shosha are investing in various minerals mines and stepping into the smelting business. Another role Shosha occupy is to develop new applications and demand for such metals. In addition to the traditional physical trading based on actual demand, they are also involved in metals dealings, the creation of diverse investment commodities making full use of derivatives, and the establishment and sales of commodity funds.

Mineral Resources

The development and import of iron ore and other mineral resources is another traditional Shosha business that has been a vital engine for economic growth in resource-poor Japan.
Shosha work for a steady supply of mineral resources through their integrated scope of services. These range from natural resources exploration and negotiations with the relevant governments and interested parties to the sustainable maintenance of ownership rights and interests, through financing and direct equity participation, and in the management of mine operations themselves.

Profile of Business Fields

Machinery and Plants

Shosha handle various kinds of machinery, including construction machinery and machine tools. Particularly notable is their ability to propose and coordinate - independent of specific manufacturers - a best mix of global sourcing for the construction of power plants, chemical factories and other types of plants overseas. Shosha are also noted for coordinating various other functions from financing and construction to operations management and maintenance services. Independent power producers (IPP) exemplify this type of business, which draws on the comprehensive capabilities of Shosha.

Transport Machinery

Shosha transportation machinery activities span land, sea, and air - that is, automobiles, railway systems, ships and aircraft. For example, Shosha have built automobile dealer networks for Japanese-made models around the world, set up offshore assembly plants, and engaged in component supply and supply chain management (SCM), as well as facilitated the offshore migration of production by Japanese automakers. As for aircraft, Shosha not only sell planes to domestic airlines but also sell used planes to third parties and furnish financing and operating leases.

IT and Content

Shosha engage in a number of areas in this field — everything from satellite launches and IC (Information Communications) network construction to mobile telephone terminal sales. In recent years, their activities are no longer confined to the handling of hardware. They now also participate in the development of applications, the creation of e-commerce business models, production of content (e.g., cinema and animation) and the worldwide sales promotion of that content. In addition, they are investing in and operating broadcasting businesses (e.g., satellite broadcasting and CATV), and incubating IT businesses.

Profile of Business Fields

Construction and Real Estate Development

In this field, the activities of Shosha encompass total regional development, construction, sale, and management of condominiums, detached houses, and other housing in other countries as well as in Japan, leasing and distribution, and the development and sales of industrial estates abroad. In addition, they are vigorously pursuing business in real estate funds, making use of their know-how in financial technology accumulated through their conventional trading activities.

Profile of Business Fields


Establishing a stable supply of energy resources is a vital task for Japan, which has few of its own. Shosha are active on this front as well. They are involved in the development and import of crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the upstream sector, oil refining and trading of crude oil and petroleum products in the midstream sector, and the management of LPG sales stores and filling stations in the downstream sector. In recent years, they have also started to step up their business in power distribution and environment-related businesses, as well as new energy, in light of recent power sector deregulation.

Profile of Business Fields


Shosha deal in a variety of products in this field. The list includes petrochemicals, inorganic chemicals (sulfur, salt, etc.), precision chemicals (e.g., catalysts and fatty acids), electronic materials, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and biochemicals. In the area of petrochemicals, they are investing in joint ventures in other countries in search of higher cost competitiveness, and are engaged in the production of ethylene, naphtha, polyvinyl chloride, ammonia, and methanol. They also distribute and sell the resulting products. In the area of general-purpose chemicals, they are aiming for the optimal supply adapted to customer needs while also making active approaches to the development of applications for high-performance chemicals.


Shosha textile divisions handle not only apparel but also various other categories, including interior and lifestyle products, bedroom linens and industrial textile materials. In addition to traditional Shosha specialties, such as the import of cotton, wool, and other raw materials as well as distribution of yarn, woven goods, and other products, Shosha take part in creating and importing new brands, store development and management of directly-operated stores, and the provision of apparel production and logistics (SCM, etc.) capabilities through use of plants in Japan and abroad. They also are collaborating with textile manufacturers in the development and sale of new materials.

General Merchandise

Commodities that Shosha handle include everything from lumber, construction materials, paper, pulp, and chips to animal hides and many other consumer goods. They are actively promoting reforestation projects in all parts of the world and making efforts to curtail the burden placed on the environment by lumber and pulp production activities. In the area of consumer goods, they aspire to enrich people's lives by furnishing a diverse range of high value-added products. They deal in everything from skis, bowling balls and other types of sporting gear to brand-name goods, ceramics, tires, rubber goods and electrical household appliances.

Profile of Business Fields

Foodstuff and Food Products

Japan is not self-sufficient in food production, and Shosha have enabled the Japanese people to enjoy a full dietary life by importing foodstuffs from other countries. They procure and supply the optimal items for consumer wants and needs in all areas, from materials such as grains, raw sugar, marine products, livestock products, and beverage ingredients to processed foods such as alcoholic beverages, canned foods, and dairy products. To assure supply stability and food safety, they are also making direct investment from upstream to downstream in grain elevators, livestock farms, food processing operations, and in food wholesaling and retailing.


Shosha kinyu (trade firm finance) traditionally refers to credit support between and among businesses. Many people may imagine foreign exchange dealing and project finance when thinking of the financial services provided by Shosha. However, in today's world where highly advanced financial technology (FT) is used, the services provided have expanded into a wide range of areas including the handling of various derivatives, the establishment and sales of funds and M&A, asset liquidation, leasing, securities, investment advice and insurance-related services among others.

Profile of Business Fields


Logistics services are a Shosha keystone. Shosha have established a combined multimodal transportation system by developing logistics bases and systems in order to provide the best and fastest logistics services. Shosha also operate logistics centers and manage vessels designated for this purpose. In recent years, Shosha have also been providing 3PL services, which support the distribution needs of business partners and third parties, and have been consulting on improving distribution through supply chain management (SCM ) by taking advantage of accumulated past business experience.

The roles and functions of Shosha vary according to the type of product handled.

Some of the roles and functions include supporting the complex domestic distribution system of the steel industry, exploring for natural resources overseas, exporting large scale plants, introducing unique foreign products and technologies into the Japanese market and endeavoring to ensure a stable supply of food and energy resources to Japan.

The list is extremely diverse and goes on and on. However, generally speaking, the major similarity in every Shosha's established business activities can be described as follows:

  • Shosha have a history of pioneering and developing various business fields with other companies as partners.
  • The overwhelming proportion of Shosha activities is accompanied by specific logistics services for specific products using a variety of logistics functions, led by SCM, connected to the simple flow of products.
  • Shosha success has always thrived on global activities beyond national borders.

Traditional business fields are the basic revenue sources of Shosha, but it is a world in which scrap and build tactics are constantly practiced to cope with and survive the ever-changing industrial structure as well as the intense competition between businesses.