Research Outline

End-of-Life Planning in Japan

Early Findings


  • Provide an overview of the concerns, potential benefits, and potential risks if the company "cake," an end-of-life planning business, were to enter the market in Japan.
  • Identify whether there are any similar businesses like "cake" that are developing in Japan, and if there are not, explain why.
  • The overall goal of both of the above points is to determine whether it is worth it or not to start a business in the "end-of-life planning" market in Japan.


about "cake" in japan

  • "Cake" was started out of Boston and there is no indication that is or is not available for use outside of the United States. They work specifically with a number of healthcare organizations in Massachusetts.
  • In an article published in Forbes, founder Chen stated that her focus for "cake" was to align the system in the U.S. about how end-of-life care and planning is handled, which indicates that the program is not available outside of the States.

end-of-life planning market in japan

  • According to a study conducted by the health ministry in Japan, as of February 2018, only 3.3% of people in Japan are aware of advanced death care planning.
  • In the same study, 66% of participants stated that they are in support of end-of-life planning, but only 8.1% actually have documentation and a plan for it, compared to 69.7% and 3.2% in 2013, respectively.
  • In a study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Economist, Japan is the oldest country in the world with 27% of the population being over the age of 65 and the longest life expectancy.
  • The main priorities that people in Japan have when it comes to end-of-life healthcare include reducing pain and stress and life longevity.
  • In Japan, 74% of the population feels that the government is not prepared to deal with the aging population, 51% believe the same about the healthcare system and 67% believe the same about their own families.
  • In descending order, the top personal priorities for death by people in japan are: not leaving families financially burdened (59%), spiritual peace (55%), not leaving family burdened by care decisions (54%), comfortability and minimal pain (47%), having loved ones around (47%), permitting wishes for care preferences (41%), and life longevity (10%).
  • 88% of people in Japan say that the individual and their families should have the greater decision in end-of-life medical treatments.
  • Approximately 33% of people in Japan over the age of 65 say that they have had a serious conversation with loved ones about their end-of-life preferences, compared to 31% of the total public.
  • In Japan, only 26% of decision-makers for a person's death said they knew exactly what the person wanted, 37% said they had a good idea, 35% said they didn't really know, and 3% were unsure.


  • Based on the data found above so far, it appears that "cake" is not yet available in Japan because of major differences in the healthcare system compared to the United States. However, the market for end-of-life planning services appears to be wide open in Japan because of the lack of other businesses and need by the people.
  • To proceed, we recommend continuing with a search to identify at least 3 companies in Japan that are similar to "cake" and provide a brief competitive analysis of each. This will include the following data points: 1) company name, 2) company website, 3) services/products offered, 4) company advantages/uniqueness, 5) company struggles/disadvantages. In the case that we cannot identify any companies in Japan that are similar to "cake," we will instead provide an in-depth analysis as to why it appears they do not exist (3 hours, $87).
  • We also recommend a further analysis of the market for end-of-life planning companies in Japan. Above we have provided statistics on the current public knowledge of the business, so we suggest now expanding to analyze the business potential for an end-of-life planning business in the area (3 hours, $87)

Total: (6 hours, $174)