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Business trends

From Uniqlo to Toyota, Japanese companies take crack at Russia

Big attraction: new consumer habits in 15 cities with populations of at least 1m

Fast Retailing opened its first Russian Uniqlo store in 2010 at the Atrium mall in Moscow. (Photo by Yuri Momoi)

MOSCOW -- Russia is perceived in Japan as a tough market, with talk about doing business here tending to run along political lines: joint economic activities in the disputed southernmost Kuril Islands or Tokyo's eight-point cooperation plan, for example.

But as the Russian economy recovers, Japanese companies are setting politics aside to enter or expand in a country that is becoming a key European market.

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